Big Brother is watching: Spyware exports pose unprecedented threat to democratic leaders and human rights defenders

by Kerry Pearson, Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

‘Never has the human right to privacy been more important and more under siege,’ suggested the UN Special Rapporteur on Privacy, Joe Cannataci, when presenting his recent report on ‘artificial intelligence and privacy’ to the Human Rights Council’s 47th session (HRC47). His words seemed especially prescient this week as news broke that spyware developed by NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance company, …

Generation Equality Forum – the Paris edition: More bold commitments, less empty promises

by Vany Cortés, Universal Rights Group Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 30 June, UN Secretary-General António Guterres opened the second session of the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) alongside UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and French President Emmanuel Macron. The GEF is a global gathering co-organised by UN Women and the Governments of France and Mexico in close cooperation with youth activists and civil society organisations from around the world. …

President Biden commits to protecting the right to vote and revitalising American democracy

by Daniela Kyle, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 13 June, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, President Joe Biden delivered a fiery speech on the importance of protecting voting rights in America. The president emphasised the need for free and fair elections in order to uphold American core values as well as to strengthen democracy domestically and abroad. The speech was directed both at the American people …

From apartheid South Africa to the Euro 2020 football championship: how sport and human rights make for natural teammates

by Mathis Limon Blog, Blog, By invitation

Competitive sports and the athletes who compete in them, can have an enormously positive impact on the enjoyment of human rights. The global reach and popularity of sports such as football, rugby, cricket, basketball, golf, athletics, and Formula 1, mean they can be used as a vehicle to either promote human rights (e.g., soccer training camps for disadvantaged children), or …

Growing Canada-China tension spills out into the Human Rights Council

by Martin Fiette, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog

Diplomatic tensions between Canada and China have been on the rise for a number of years, particularly since the arrest in 2018 of Huawei CEO Meng Wanzhou by the Canadian authorities on behalf of the US. The Chinese response was swift and brutal – two Canadians were detained in China for ‘endangering national security.’ In late June, those tensions spilled …

Report on the 47th session of the Human Rights Council

by the URG team Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Uncategorized, URG Human Rights Council Reports

Quick summary The 47th regular session of the Human Rights Council ( HRC47 ) was held from Monday 21st June to Tuesday 13th July 2021. On 21st June, H.E. Ms. Michelle Bachelet presented her annual report on the human rights situation around the world. This presentation was followed by an interactive dialogue on her report on the role of States in responding to pandemics . The presentation of her annual report provided the basis for an …

Governmental human rights focal points: governments and national administrations as drivers of human rights implementation?

by Stéphanie Lagoutte, Senior researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights and Sébastien Lorion, Senior adviser at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Blog, Blog, By invitation, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms

Human rights ministries, inter-ministerial delegations or committees, whether with a thematic or comprehensive human rights mandate, have become important domestic actors dedicated to driving human rights implementation and progress. These human rights focal points have emerged in State practice and, more recently, have been recognised in international law and guidance, as recommended drivers of implementation. At the same time, governments …

The human rights case for vaccine multilateralism

by Kerry Pearson, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The past eighteen months have exposed the world to an extraordinary challenge with unprecedented setbacks and devastating social and economic repercussions that have forced us, in the words of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to ‘learn [in order] to live’. Fortunately, we have done much learning and the pace at which the world has gained scientific knowledge …

Rethinking the right to education

by Federico Sarchiapone, URG Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only heralded a public health and economic crisis, but also triggered an educational emergency. Data collected by UNESCO shows that around the globe students lost on average two-thirds of their academic year as governments resorted to mandatory school closures in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. However, this figure masks great disparities among …

41st Session of the Human Rights Council.

Where do things stand with the 2021-2026 review of the Council’s status?

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

On 9 June, the President of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Ambassador Nazhat Khan (Fiji), convened an informal exchange on the General Assembly’s review of the Council’s status, due to be conducted between 2021 and 2026. This was the first time Geneva delegations had had the opportunity to consider the ‘2021-2026 review’ since the summer of 2019, when it had …