The Human Right Council in 2022: Vision, challenges and a call for action

by H.E. Federico Villegas, 16th President of the UN Human Rights Council, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Challenges for the coming year As Permanent Representative of Argentina, I am grateful and honoured for having been elected to preside over the Human Rights Council for 2022. 2021 was very challenging, but my predecessor, Ambassador Kahn, guided us through the year and kept the Council functioning during an unprecedented pandemic. The year ahead will also present particular challenges for the Council, …

Maine becomes the first US state to recognize the Right to Food in a Constitutional amendment

by Tess Brennan, Former URG NYC fellow Blog, Blog

On 2 November 2021, in a significant development for the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs) in the United States, voters in Maine approved an amendment to the state Constitution that recognizes the right to food. The amendment , which 60% of Mainers voted in favor of, declares that “all individuals have the right to grow, raise, harvest, …

Report of the 33rd Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the grave human rights situation in Ethiopia

by the URG team Blog, Blog, URG Human Rights Council Reports

On Friday 17th December 2021, the Human Rights Council convened a Special Session to address ‘the grave human rights situation in Ethiopia’. The Special Session was requested via an official letter dated 13 December 2021 and signed by H.E Lotte Knudsen, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations Office in Geneva, as well as H.E Anita …

Human Rights Day: From recognition to action on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

by Dr Shavana Haythornthwaite, Head, Human Rights Unit, Commonwealth Secretariat and Dr Justin Pettit, Human Rights Adviser, Commonwealth Secretariat Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

This blog was first published on the Commonwealth website The critical state of the environment, the acceleration of climate change, the serious impacts of pollution and the increasing loss of biodiversity are undeniable. They jeopardise food security, weaken public health, exacerbate conflict and displacement, deepen inequalities, undermine development, threaten achievement of the SDGs, and impede economic growth – all whilst …

Human Rights Day 2021: protect the right to be as well as the right to become

by Dr Bertrand G. Ramcharan Blog, Blog, By invitation

Today, 10 December, is Human Rights Day. It was on this day in 1948 that the UN proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. What the Universal Declaration sought to do, seventy-three years ago, was to invite all governments to pursue human rights strategies of governance. That is …

Raising the fight against corruption to the top of the international agenda: A proposal for a new Optional Protocol to the ICESCR

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy

The collapse of democracy is Afghanistan, after 20 years and billions of dollars of international engagement; the collapse of democracy in Myanmar following February’s coup d’état and ouster of Aung San Suu Kyi; the collapse of democracy in Sudan following October’s coup d’état and the detention of the civilian government. What do each of these salutary tales of democratic roll-back …

Making it real: Why members of the Human Rights Council should make use of their power to conduct ‘good offices’ missions

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

From 23-25 October, members of the Security Council carried out country missions to Mali and Niger, under the auspices of the Kenyan presidency of the body. In Mali, they met with members of the Transitional Government, including the Transitional President and Prime Minister, signatory armed groups, representatives of civil society, the Special Representative of the Secretary‑General for Mali, and representatives …

Report of the 32nd Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the human rights implications of the ongoing situation in the Sudan

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

On Friday 5 November 2021, the Human Rights Council convened a Special Session to address the ‘human rights implications of the ongoing situation in the Sudan’. The Special Session was requested via an official letter dated 1 November 2021 and signed by H.E. Simon Manley, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN in Geneva. This letter, addressed to …

Cop 26 and Beyond: A Human Rights-Based Response to Climate Change and Scotland’s Contribution

by Professor Alan Miller, Professor of Practice in Human Rights Law at the University of Strathclyde Blog, Blog, By invitation

Introduction The science and living experience of climate change is no longer for debate. Its current and future impact upon our lives, livelihoods and ways of life represent the greatest 21st Century threat to the enjoyment of human rights. The UN Secretary-General is right to state we are at “Code Red” for humanity. There is hope and it needs COP 26 to …

Human Rights Council elections: Are GA delegations basing their votes on human rights or diplomatic considerations?

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

When UN member State diplomats sat down, in 2005, to discuss the size, shape, prerogatives and responsibilities of the new Human Rights Council, including how the new body would be different from its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, it is fair to say that the issues of elections and membership were at the forefront of their minds. The Commission …