What are friends for?: ‘Groups of Friends’ and the UN system

by David Joseph Deutch, Universal Rights Group NYC Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, New York City, Universal Rights Group NYC

Having arisen out of the post Cold War period, the concept of ‘Groups of Friends’ represented a newly found faith and belief in the power of multilateralism as a means of global problem solving. Groups of friends are coalitions of United Nations (UN) member states, who band together in order to further and actualise particular goals and outcomes related to …

Is UN Secretary-General António Guterres committed to human rights?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog

Much of the criticism of UN SG Guterres for his “silence” on human rights is misplaced—he is rather making a good faith effort, alongside High Commissioner Bachelet, to balance the public and private diplomacy aspects of his mandate. Is Secretary-General António Guterres really committed to human rights? That’s a question that has been vexing diplomats, civil society representatives and journalists …

Placing human rights at the heart of prevention: Short analysis of the report of the group of experts on ‘the contribution of the Council to prevention’

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Ever since the establishment of the UN in 1946, the Organisation has recognised the central importance and value of prevention and declared its determination to place the approach at the centre of its work. Indeed, the very first words of the UN Charter make clear that the UN’s overriding mission is to prevent the gross and systematic human rights abuses …

The UN human rights treaty system: Getting closer to the ground?

by Christof Heyns, Professor of Human Rights Law, Univeristy of Pretoria and Member of the UN Human Rights Committee and Willem Gravett, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

In a 2017 post on this site (and drawing on an idea advanced 20 years ago by Christof Heyns and Frans Viljoen ), we argued that the current process of reform of the human rights treaty system should include efforts to “bring the treaty system closer to the people on the ground.” More specifically, treaty bodies should not only conduct their work in Geneva, but also hold meetings away from their home base, in particular in the …

What are the human rights priorities of world governments in 2020?

by the URG team Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

An independent analysis of the High-Level Segment of the Human Rights Council The High-Level Segment of the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council , held from 24 to 26 February 2020, saw the active participation of more than a 100 world leaders, including, four heads of States, around 90 ministers or vice-ministers, and a number of principals of international organisations. In the statements they delivered to …

URG’s verdict on the UN Secretary-General’s ‘Call to Action’: a missed opportunity

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog

On Monday 24 February, the first day of the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC43), UN Secretary-General António Guterres launched a new ‘Call to action for human rights.’ Rumours of a ‘major announcement’ from the Secretary-General had been circulating since late last year, and were confirmed by Guterres himself in a keynote speech to the General Assembly on 22 January. In it, he identified four key contemporary challenges facing humanity (he called …

‘When the weapons fall silent’: UN Security Council discusses transitional justice

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, New York City, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 13 February the Security Council held its first ever discussion on transitional justice as a thematic issue, with States from every region offering first-hand accounts and calling for the UN to play a supportive role. Belgium, Security Council President for the month of February, initiated and presided over the open debate on ‘ transitional justice in conflict and post-conflict situations ,’ under the Peacebuilding and Sustaining …

The Human Rights Council in 2020 – Views of the 14th President of the Human Rights Council H.E. Ms. Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger

by H.E. Elisabeth TICHY-FISSLBERGER, President of the UN Human Rights Council Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Geneva, 20 February 2020 It is a very special honour for me to preside over the Human Rights Council during this year, and I am fully aware of the responsibility I have assumed from my predecessor. The Human Rights Council is unique in many ways. Unlike many other UN bodies, the Council provides a place where States and civil society …

The UN Human Development Report must go farther on inequality

by Steven L. B. Jensen, Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Blog, Blog, By invitation

This post first appeared on OpenGlobalRights . In December, UNDP launched the  Human Development Report 2019 . It was announced in advance that the new report would reconceptualize human development around the concept of inequality. This framing offers a more holistic take on existing injustices around the world. The report combines income and wealth inequalities with those more traditionally associated with human development such as health …

Placing human rights at the heart of the UN’s prevention agenda would reduce suffering and save world governments over US$35 billion per year

by the URG team Blog, Blog, News, Prensa

UN efforts over the past thirty years to shift its approach to crises and conflicts from reaction to prevention have largely failed for two main reasons, according to a new report by the Universal Rights Group (URG) think tank. First, because it is far easier for world governments to invest political and financial capital in responding to humanitarian disasters (especially …