Report of the Council’s urgent debate on the situation of human rights in Belarus during HRC45

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

On Friday 18 September 2020, in the context of the 45th session of the Human Rights Council, which opened on Monday 14 September, an urgent debate was convened on the ‘situation of human rights in Belarus ’. The urgent debate was requested through an official letter from H. E. Ambassador Michael von Ungern-Sternberg of Germany on behalf of the European Union (EU) and addressed to …

Is digital technology rotting British and American democracy from the inside out

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, In focus: democracy

The rapid evolution and spread of digital technology are already having a major impact on the enjoyment of civil and political rights around the world, and on the ways in which democracies function. Some of those impacts are undoubtedly positive. Digital technology, for example, allows citizens to scrutinise the actions and decisions of government officials (e.g. in the context of …

Scotland taking a child rights based approach further than ever

by Dragan Nastic, Strategic Lead - UNCRC, UNICEF UK Blog, Blog, By invitation, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms, Uncategorized

On 2 September: “The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill” was tabled in the Scottish Parliament to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law. This is a significant moment in realising a widely shared vision of ensuring all children and young people growing up in Scotland have …

The Tik(Tok)ing of privacy rights in the digital era: the need for an international framework to protect data privacy

by Siri Swayampu, former URG NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

Research estimates that over half of the world’s population is online every day and over 90% of the population aged 6 and older will be online by 2030. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic saw a sustained surge in online activity across the world. Beginning as a breakthrough in communications, the internet phenomenon has since transformed into a revolution that is embedded in every …

Rapid expansion of ‘Magnitsky-style’ human rights sanctions regimes underlines need for international coordination and norms

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Although July and August are traditionally ‘slow’ months for both governments and the UN, this year they have coincided with an explosion of interest in, and movement towards, so-called ‘Magnitsky-style’ sanction regimes – geared towards holding those guilty of serious human rights violations to individual account. First out the block in early July was the UK, which on 6 July …

UK education scandal has made explicit what has long been implicit: children’s equal right to a quality education is systematically violated in the UK

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

One of the most entertaining exposés of the recent scandal in the UK around A-Level (for 18 year olds) and GCSE results (for 16 year olds), and in particular the automatic, computer-generated (via an algorithm) downgrading of kids from State schools in poorer parts of the country, was undoubtedly provided by James O’Brien of LBC radio. Speaking on 14 August, he explained …

How UN recognition of the right to water and sanitation has informed efforts to secure universal recognition of the right to a healthy, clean and sustainable environment

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

At the end of July, the world celebrated the tenth anniversary of the universal recognition of the right to water and sanitation by the UN General Assembly (GA). To mark the occasion the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller, issued a statement (which can be read here) in which he hailed this …

For 18% of Americans social media is their main source of news – what does this mean for the presidential elections?

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 30 July, the Pew Research Center released a report that revealed that one in five Americans use social media for their primary source of news. This report comes at a time of both an intense news cycle, dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic and a fast approaching US presidential election, and when social media usage is at an all-time high . It …

UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights goes out guns blazing against failure to address poverty

by Steven L. B. Jensen Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

‘The world is at an existential crossroads.’ These are the opening words in the outgoing UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston’s final report to the UN Human Rights Council submitted in July 2020. Professor Philip Alston, one of the world’s most distinguished human rights experts, used his five-year tenure to put a spotlight on the …

US presidential candidates set out markedly different positions on human rights, the Human Rights Council and the UN

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Universal Rights Group NYC

With a Presidential election less than 100 days away, over 150,000 American deaths from COVID-19, and a GDP freefall comparable to the Great Depression, the focus of the American voter is very much on domestic, rather than foreign, policy. Yet, a recent draft State Department report contains worrying implications about the human rights foreign (and domestic) policy of a second term Donald …