No longer stuck in limbo: the Shona people of Kenya receive national identification cards

by Kerry Pearson, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms

The challenge of statelessness has pervaded the international community for decades, with the UNHCR estimating  that 12 million people currently hold no nationality. Stateless persons are often subjected to human rights violations, inhibiting their access to education, health services, employment, and economic security. Kenya has battled with this challenge since the early 1960s, when the Shona community, originating from Southern Africa, …

Big Brother is watching: Spyware exports pose unprecedented threat to democratic leaders and human rights defenders

by Kerry Pearson, Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

‘Never has the human right to privacy been more important and more under siege,’ suggested the UN Special Rapporteur on Privacy, Joe Cannataci, when presenting his recent report on ‘artificial intelligence and privacy’ to the Human Rights Council’s 47th session (HRC47). His words seemed especially prescient this week as news broke that spyware developed by NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance company, …

Generation Equality Forum – the Paris edition: More bold commitments, less empty promises

by Vany Cortés, Universal Rights Group Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 30 June, UN Secretary-General António Guterres opened the second session of the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) alongside UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and French President Emmanuel Macron. The GEF is a global gathering co-organised by UN Women and the Governments of France and Mexico in close cooperation with youth activists and civil society organisations from around the world. …

The human rights case for vaccine multilateralism

by Kerry Pearson, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The past eighteen months have exposed the world to an extraordinary challenge with unprecedented setbacks and devastating social and economic repercussions that have forced us, in the words of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to ‘learn [in order] to live’. Fortunately, we have done much learning and the pace at which the world has gained scientific knowledge …

Rethinking the right to education

by Federico Sarchiapone, URG Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only heralded a public health and economic crisis, but also triggered an educational emergency. Data collected by UNESCO shows that around the globe students lost on average two-thirds of their academic year as governments resorted to mandatory school closures in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. However, this figure masks great disparities among …

The battle for social media regulation: can international human rights bridge the governance gap in the digital space?

by Daniela Kyle, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Uncategorized, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 4 June, Facebook declared that former US President Donald Trump’s suspension from their service will last at least two years, following the implementation of new enforcement protocols. These protocols are expected to have long-term effects on the presiding guidelines for content moderation and account suspensions for public figures. On the same day, Nigeria announced a nationwide Twitter ban after the platform …

It’s high time human rights practitioners join conversations on taxation

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group and Sandra Petrovic, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

In recent weeks, conversations about taxation seem to have moved out from the shadows of bureaucratic policy making and placed front and center of the international geopolitical stage. The reason in one word: COVID-19. However, while there is a growing momentum to establish a new international tax regime that addresses pervasive inequalities, accompanied by greater political will to discuss States’ …

Making AI trustworthy: the EU’s proposed legal framework for regulating artificial intelligence

by Courtney Halverson, URG NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a plethora of uses, spanning from surprising and beneficial applications, like applying the same technology used to analyse pastries to identify cancer cells, to potentially detrimental and intrusive applications, like using facial recognition to track citizens. The European Union’s new proposal for a legal framework to govern AI suggests that the introduction of ethical, human centered regulations can both …

What we talk about when we talk about accountability

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group and Anna-Christina Schmidl, Universal Rights Group Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

On 27 May 2010, addressing the Rome Statute Review Conference of the International Criminal Court in Kampala, Uganda, then-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon heralded the ‘birth of a new Age of Accountability.’ More than a decade on, in the face of devastating conflicts and a global pandemic that has reinforced structural inequalities and led to a deterioration in the state of human …

Generation Equality Forum 2021: A light at the end of the gender inequality tunnel?

by Vany Cortés, Universal Rights Group Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

In his virtual address at the inauguration ceremony of the Generation Equality Forum 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron remarked that ‘no country in the world has yet achieved complete equality between men and women’. This observation crystallises the alarming state of gender equality almost 26 years after the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the adoption of the landmark …