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, former 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. …

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 …

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 …

Human Rights Council President, Bureau and Member States must respect the role and rights of NGOs

by Phil Lynch, Director of the International Service for Human Rights Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The right, and indeed the responsibility, of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to critique governments, expose and pursue accountability for human rights violations, and advocate for changes in law, policy and practice should be uncontroversial and uncontested. This is particularly the case at the UN Human Rights Council, the world’s apex body for human rights debate and dialogue, the mandate of which …

A call for measurable human rights targets in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

by Subhas Gujadhur Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

        “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”         – Albert Einstein   This week UN Member States will consider the “zero draft” of goals and targets entitled ‘Introduction and Proposed Goals and Targets on Sustainable Development for the Post 2015 Development Agenda” which has been …

The environment is the new battleground for human rights – we must protect those on the frontline

by Oliver Courtney Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Imagine waking up one morning to be told by a man from the government that new laws mean the street your family has lived on for generations is being sold to developers. Your land is to be ‘converted’ into flats in the name of national economic development; bulldozers will soon be moving in to flatten your house and rip up …

The emerging law of environmental human rights is clearer than ever before

by Professor John Knox, Independent Expert on human rights and the environment Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On the last day of its 25th session in March 2014, the Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a historic resolution on human rights and the environment. For the first time, the Council explicitly recognised that ‘human rights law sets out certain obligations on states which are relevant to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.’ This …

URG welcomes cross-regional statement on strengthening effectiveness of Human Rights Council resolutions

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

Improving the effectiveness of Human Rights Council resolutions is one of the Universal Rights Group’s current projects, and in that regard we are pleased to have contributed, through our empirical and qualitative research, policy dialogues, and side events with delegations from all regions and political groups, to the delivery of the following consensus based cross-regional statement led by Norway and …

Human Rights and the Post 2015 Development Agenda

by Subhas Gujadhur Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Despite the many achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the MDG framework has been deficient in some important respects, not least in terms of how it deals with equity and the protection of human rights (civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural). This deficiency is important because without human rights, sustainable development cannot be realized. That …

Post 2015 Development Agenda – Global Governance and the Right to Food

by Subhas Gujadhur Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

In 2000, the U.N. Millennium Summit declared that halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger between 1990 and 2015 is a key Millennium Development Goal. Also in 2000, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights appointed a Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food in order to “respond fully to the necessity for an integrated and coordinated approach in …