The Council’s full-day panel debate on climate change should be a springboard for further and deeper action in the run-up to COP21 in Paris

by Professor John H. Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The 28th session of the Human Rights Council marks the end of the initial three-year term of the mandate of the  Independent Expert on human rights and the environment . Over the past year, in my capacity as the Independent Expert, I have focused on identifying, promoting and exchanging views on good practices relating to the use of human rights obligations to inform, support and strengthen environmental policymaking. …

A way forward for the 16/18 process

by Caka A. Awal* Blog, By invitation, In Focus: Human rights and religion

A policy report of Universal Rights Group (URG) on ‘ Combatting Global Religious Intolerance: the Implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 ’ has rightly pointed out the complexities of the issues surrounding freedom of religion or belief and the fight against global religious intolerance. The report provides useful historical insights about the UN’s journey to confront and combat racial and religious intolerance. It is interesting to note that on 25th November 1981 …

Climate change and human rights in 2015: what is the role of the international human rights community in contributing to an effective and just Paris agreement?

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

At the end of 2015, climate policymakers will meet in Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change (COP21). There, it is hoped, countries will sign a universal, legally binding agreement to tackle global warming. It is well understood that a new, ambitious accord on climate change is vital for the planet …

UN strategy to combat religious intolerance – is it fit for purpose?

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

According to a recent report by the  Pew Research Center , violence and discrimination against religious groups by governments, as well as social hostilities by a variety of actors, have reached new heights in all regions except the Americas. This bleak picture is supported by the findings of the latest  report on religious freedom  by the US State Department, which concluded that 2013 saw “the largest displacement …

Challenges and opportunities for the Human Rights Council in 2015

by Ambassador Joachim Ruecker, President of the Human Rights Council Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The work of the Human Rights Council is definitely underestimated. This point immediately struck me when I was elected President of the Council for the year 2015, and international and German media representatives approached me for interviews. “Isn’t the Council a tiger without teeth?” “What can the Council achieve without being able to impose sanctions like the Security Council?” “Looking …

Post-2015 Human Rights Caucus response to the UN Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report

by the Post-2015 Human Rights Caucus Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The Post-2015 Human Rights Caucus – a broad coalition of development, environmental, feminist, trade union and human rights organizations worldwide, which the Universal Rights Group is proud to be a member of – had produced the following response to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Report “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet” (The ‘Synthesis Report’): “We warmly …

Charlie Hebdo attack and global reaction highlights critical importance of renewed commitment to the implementation of resolution 16/18 and the Rabat Plan of Action

by Andrew Smith, Legal Officer at ARTICLE 19 Blog, In Focus: Human rights and religion

Last week’s appalling attack against journalists and police officers at the satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, and the cascade of comment and counter-comment that has followed, remind us once again of both the importance of, and the sensitivities that surround, the relationship between freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, and non-discrimination. Identifying and understanding the contours of that relationship …

Ban's attempt to place human rights as a pillar in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

by Subhas Gujadhur Blog

World leaders have called for an ambitious long-term sustainability agenda to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the end of 2015. The post-2015 development agenda is expected to address the unfinished business of the MDGs. Requested by UN Member States to pull together inputs from all strands on the post-2015 development agenda, the UN Secretary General presented on 4 …

An Egyptian perspective on human rights: challenges and opportunities

by H.E Ambassador Dr. Walid Mahmoud Abdelnasser, the former Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva Blog

Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the emergence of an international legal framework for protecting and promoting human rights, new challenges have constantly emerged in our rapidly-changing world. These challenges include climate change; the fight against poverty; global terrorist movements; issues related to migration; threats to privacy in cyberspace; or unforeseen economic and financial crises …

URG launches global media analysis of HRC visibility and relevance

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

To mark Human Rights Day 2014, the Universal Rights Group has commissioned a global media survey analysing the quantity and content of coverage of the Human Rights Council. Such an analysis of media interest in and opinions on the Council and its mechanisms is a useful means of understanding how the body is seen beyond the cantonal boundaries of Geneva, …