Do digital technologies hurt or support human rights?

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

On 14 May this year, the San Francisco city council voted to ban the use of facial recognition technology by local authorities and agencies, including the police. Several other US cities, and even some States, are now considering following suit. These important developments come in the wake of the release of a recent study by Georgetown University, which found that the use …

Magnitsky acts and the future of accountability for violations of international human rights law: An interview with Bill Browder

by Ben Greenacre, Universal Rights Group and the URG team Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Since the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow jail cell in 2009, US financier turned anti-corruption activist Bill Browder has led an almost one man crusade to strengthen national legal frameworks and responses to alleged gross violations of human rights and/or cases of grand corruption (which are linked to serious human rights violations ). Over the intervening ten years, Mr Browder’s determination and …

Human rights and the 2030 Agenda: Leveraging synergies to achieve the SDGs

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 16 January, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, the Human Rights Council will convene an inter-sessional meeting on the interlinkages between human rights and sustainable development, and on how States can harness the complementarities of international human rights obligations and the SDG commitments to power progress in both areas. The meeting, entitled ‘Human rights and the 2030 Agenda: Empowering …

The 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration and the contemporary human rights emergency of climate change

by David R. Boyd - UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Monday 10th December 2018, Geneva, New York and Katowice Two concurrent news stories, seemingly unrelated. First, the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a moment in history reflecting humanity’s ambition for a more just and equal world. Second, world leaders gathered in Katowice, Poland, to finalise the rules for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. …

The future of human rights accountability edges closer: Magnitsky laws move to centre stage in the US and Europe

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

The extrajudicial killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, and the international reaction thereto, could well represent a defining moment in the evolution of systems of international accountability for serious human rights violations. In particular, the US response to the killing is being shaped (or, from the perspective of President Trump, perhaps dictated) …

The death of Jamal Khashoggi and the growing prominence of global ‘Magnitsky' laws as a means of securing accountability

by Ben Greenacre, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

What do the Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have in common? Both victims of shocking human rights violations, including torture and, ultimately, extrajudicial killing, their cases have helped to catalyse an important new trend in how the international community addresses serious infractions of international human rights law. In particular, both killings are closely associated …

Special Rapporteur calls on the UN to recognize the universal right to a healthy environment

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

Last week, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, David R. Boyd, made a historic push at the UN General Assembly for the human right to a healthy environment to be recognised at the global level. During his landmark address at the GA’s Third Committee, Boyd argued, firstly, that official UN recognition of the human right to a healthy environment would bolster and enhance work already underway …

High Commissioner speaks on human rights, resilience and prevention

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Newly appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, gave a statement at a High-Level Event during the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, marking the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “A Prevention Tool to Achieve Peace and Sustainable Development.” She said: “Human rights are the interlocking elements that build resilient and confident societies – societies …

How UN Treaty Bodies can better address corruption and its negative impact on human rights

by Patrick Mutzenberg, Director of the Centre for Civil and Political Rights. Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

It is now widely recognised that corruption negatively affects the enjoyment of civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Corruption not only has a negative impact on the ability of States to implement their treaty-based human rights obligations, but it also directly affects the population of such countries. This concern was raised several times by …

Time for a ‘Universal Magnitsky Act’?

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

In 2009, Russian tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison after investigating a $230 million tax fraud involving Russian officials. A subsequent investigation into his case by the Kremlin’s own human rights commission, ordered and endorsed (in July 2011) by the-then Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, found that in order to silence Magnitsky, corrupt officials had accused him of …