Report on the 48th session of the Human Rights Council

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

Quick summary The 48th regular session of the Human Rights Council ( HRC48 ) was held from Monday 13 September to Monday 11 October 2021. On 13 September, H.E. Michelle Bachelet presented her global update on the human rights situation around the world, followed by her report on Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and oral updates on Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Sri Lanka. An enhanced …

What are the world’s human rights priorities in 2021, and priorities to look out for in 2022?

by Courtney Halverson, URG NYC and the URG team Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog

Human rights analysis of high-level speeches during the general debate of the UN General Assembly In the pre-pandemic world, each fall world leaders would descend upon New York City to speak at the General Debate of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Last year, this tradition was disrupted (as so many others) by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of migrating to Turtle …

Report of the 31st Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the Serious Human Rights Concerns and Situation in Afghanistan

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

On Tuesday 24 August 2021, the Human Rights Council convened a special session to address the ‘serious human rights concerns and situation in Afghanistan’. The special session was requested via an  official letter  dated 17 August 2021 and signed by H.E. Khalil Hashmi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the UN in Geneva, in his capacity as …

Can President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill help the US build back better on economic, social and cultural rights?

by Daniela Kyle, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, New York City, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 10 August, the United States Senate approved the $1 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that had been proposed and supported by President Biden as the first phase in his Build Back Better agenda. The bill will be the largest long-term investment in American infrastructure in nearly a century, and is expected to make the American economy ‘more sustainable, resilient and just.’ The White House stated that …

‘Who controls the present controls the past’: Identity politics and the right to education

by Courtney Halverson, URG NYC Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

Education is often described as the ‘great equalizer’.The right to education can propel people of all ages towards better futures through the inherent understanding of their own and others’ inviolable rights. History education in particular helps children understand the foundations of the State and society in which their rights are exercised, and yet, as can be seen with political issues …

No longer stuck in limbo: the Shona people of Kenya receive national identification cards

by Kerry Pearson, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms

The challenge of statelessness has pervaded the international community for decades, with the UNHCR estimating  that 12 million people currently hold no nationality. Stateless persons are often subjected to human rights violations, inhibiting their access to education, health services, employment, and economic security. Kenya has battled with this challenge since the early 1960s, when the Shona community, originating from Southern Africa, …

Locked up and locked down: how persons in detention have been left behind during COVID-19

by Kerry Pearson, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog

While the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated global health disparities, the group that has arguably been impacted the most is persons in detention. As the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT), which supervises compliance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture [1] , has pointed out, ‘persons deprived of their liberty comprise a particularly vulnerable group’. Nowhere has this been more …

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 …