Between Principles and Pragmatism: How African states vote at the UN Human Rights Council

by Hassan Shire, Executive Director of DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) and the Chairperson of AfricanDefenders (the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network), based in Kampala, Uganda and Nicolas Agostini, Representative to the United Nations for DefendDefenders Blog, Blog, By invitation

What would a comprehensive analysis of the voting record of African states at the UN Human Rights Council look like? The question isn’t easy, but we hope that the answer DefendDefenders and AfricanDefenders formulated will quench the thirst of those—diplomats, human rights advocates, or mere Council observers—who pay attention to the African Group… or worry about its voting patterns. As African human …

Who is Volker Türk?

by Yoni Ish-Hurwitz, Executive Director, Human Rights Likeminded Office Blog, Blog, By invitation

Opinions have already begun forming about Volker Türk in the short time since the announcement of his appointment last week as the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. However, in the absence of a public competition, there was little opportunity to learn about Türk. He is also not well-known outside of the UN (and had few followers on twitter …

The 1968 United Nations Debate on Human Rights and Tech

by Steven L. B. Jensen, Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Blog, Blog, By invitation

Social media, digitalisation, datafication , AI , internet access , surveillance capitalism and the vast powers of tech companies have all become issues of critical concern for the human rights community. In the debate, we often focus on the newness of the evolving challenges. However, it may be worthwhile to take a step back and note that the nexus between human rights and tech …

The French Development Agency organised an international conference to consider new ideas and approaches to linking human rights and development

by Sarah HAYES, Independent Consultant Human Rights and Sustainable Development and Farid LAMARA, Expert in Human Development and Senior strategic advisor, Agence Française de Développement Blog, Blog, By invitation

Against a background of the retreat of human rights worldwide, growing doubts about the ability of the international community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, growing inequalities, and the ecological and climate crises, on Human Rights Day 2021 (10 December) the French Development Agency (AFD) organised an international conference on ‘Human Rights and Development.’ It brought together …

The state of democracy in Europe 2021: Overcoming the impact of the pandemic

by Nana Kalandadze, Programme Manager, Regional Europe Programme, International IDEA and Alexander Hudson, Democracy Assessment Specialist, International IDEA Blog, Blog, By invitation, In focus: democracy

Are European democracies in peril? How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected them? And is the prevailing sense of crisis justified? ‘The Global State of Democracy,’ International IDEA’s biennial report last released in November 2021, is a health-check of democracies across the globe (including a chapter on Europe), designed to provide both a current snapshot of vital democratic attributes, an analysis …

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 Khan, 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, …

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 …

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 …

From apartheid South Africa to the Euro 2020 football championship: how sport and human rights make for natural teammates

by Mathis Limon Blog, Blog, By invitation

Competitive sports and the athletes who compete in them, can have an enormously positive impact on the enjoyment of human rights. The global reach and popularity of sports such as football, rugby, cricket, basketball, golf, athletics, and Formula 1, mean they can be used as a vehicle to either promote human rights (e.g., soccer training camps for disadvantaged children), or …