Confessions of a small State on human rights

by Ambassador Foo Kok Jwee, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva and the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Size matters in international relations. Small States do not perform any fundamentally irreplaceable role in the international system; yet it is hard to imagine a world without big countries such as the United States, China, India, Russia, Indonesia and Brazil, or even without medium-sized States like Japan, South Africa and Germany. The only viable strategic response for small States is …

Is the UN Human Rights Council delivering on its mandate to mainstream human rights?

by Paul Hunt, University of Essex (UK); University of Waikato (New Zealand) and the URG team Beyond the Council, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

When UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke for the last time to the Commission on Human Rights he emphasised that “the era of declaration is now giving way, as it should, to an era of implementation.” [1] In the past, human rights implementation was often narrowly understood to mean passing a law and securing a favourable judicial decision. Of course, laws and …

The Human Rights Council’s failings should lead to reassessment

by Brett D. Schaefer and the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

‘By Invitation’ URG Insights blogs aim to offer an inclusive platform for all stakeholders to express and share information and opinion. The views expressed are the authors’ own, and do not necessarily represent the position of the URG.     The 2015 edition of Freedom House’s Freedom in the World reported that observance of civil and political rights saw a decline for the ninth …

Reflections on the Human Rights Council: the Way Forward

by H.E. Ambassador WU Hailong, Permanent Representative of China to the UN Office at Geneva and the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

In October 2013, before taking office as the Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office in Geneva, I led the Chinese delegation that participated in our second cycle review under the Universal Periodical Review (UPR). The review took place, of course, in Room 20 of the Palais des Nations, and I was deeply impressed by the colourful ceiling designed by the …

‘Kidnapping for Ransom:’ a growing human rights threat

by the URG team Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

In October 2012, US Under Secretary of State for terrorism and financial intelligence, David Cohen, delivered a talk at Chatham House in London on the growing trend of ‘kidnapping for ransom’ (KfR). This monetary-driven form of terrorism, led by al-Qaeda and similar groups, seeks to use kidnapping and ransoms as a means of generating revenue to support further terrorist activities. In this regard, the extremist militant …

The road to Istanbul passes through Rabat

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group and the URG team Blog, In Focus: Human rights and religion

On 3rd-4th June, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) hosted, in Jeddah, a fifth round of the Istanbul Process, a series of intergovernmental meetings launched in 2011 by the former OIC Secretary-General, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, and former US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton. The Istanbul Process was put in place to promote and guide the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 on combatting religious intolerance and discrimination. The resolution, adopted …

Breaking the accountability taboo in the post-2015 negotiations

by Kate Donald and the URG team Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Late last month at the UN, representatives of all member states gathered to discuss how they would review and monitor progress once implementation of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda begins. For the members of the  Post-2015 Human Rights Caucus , pursuing accountability for post-2015 commitments is a priority, given its centrality to human rights practice and the stark  failure to promote accountability in the context of the MDGs . Therefore members of the Caucus – and many …

Connecting the pillars: Human Rights and the post-2015 agenda

by Naiara Costa and the URG team Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

If you follow the work of the United Nations (UN) you may have already discovered that 2015 seems to be the year for the ‘development’ pillar of the organisation. Three main agreements are expected to be adopted until the end of the year and the complexity of the negotiations are increased by the interconnectedness amongst them. The first agreement is …

Human rights focus can strengthen Paris climate deal

by Manuel González-Sanz, Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group, Cecilia Rebong, Mary Robinson and the URG team Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Climate change was top of the agenda last month at the UN’s leading human rights body, writes Manuel González-Sanz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, Cecilia Rebong, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Philippines to the United Nations at Geneva, Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, Marc Limon, Executive Director of Universal Rights Group. Following great efforts by a …

Islam, human rights and universality

by Prof. Dr. Mouez Khalfaoui and the URG team Blog, By invitation, In Focus: Human rights and religion

Ever since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights came into effect in 1948, the relationship between human rights and Islam has constituted a topic of heated debate. As of today, politicians, NGO workers, academics and journalists continue to discuss the compatibility of human rights and Islamic legal systems, traditions, and cultures. Geographically speaking, these debates encompass both Muslim countries as …