Boosting the financial transparency of UN Special Procedures

by Gregor Puppinck, Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) By invitation, Special Procedures

I was very surprised, roughly a year ago, to find out that several UN Special Procedures mandate-holders (independent UN human rights experts), were receiving substantial financial contributions from governments, and even from private foundations, and that many of those contributions are made without any kind of formal financial oversight or transparency. I therefore decided to look further into this issue, …

Statement by Dr Ahmed Shaheed, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Mr Marc Limon Executive Director, Universal Rights Group on the passing of Prof. Christof Heyns

by the URG team and URG Chair Human rights institutions and mechanisms, News BORRAR, Prensa BORRAR, Special Procedures, Treaty Bodies, URG News BORRAR

Everyone at the Universal Rights Group (URG), board members and staff, are shocked and greatly saddened by the news that our friend and colleague, Professor Christof Heyns, passed away yesterday (28 March 2021). Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Christof was a giant of the human rights world. He allied a brilliant mind with a fierce determination …

How UN recognition of the right to water and sanitation has informed efforts to secure universal recognition of the right to a healthy, clean and sustainable environment

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Contemporary and emerging human rights issues BORRAR, Human rights implementation and impact, Human rights institutions and mechanisms, R2E, R2E borrar, Special Procedures, Thematic human rights issues

At the end of July, the world celebrated the tenth anniversary of the universal recognition of the right to water and sanitation by the UN General Assembly (GA). To mark the occasion the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller, issued a statement (which can be read here) in which he hailed this …

UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights goes out guns blazing against failure to address poverty

by Steven L. B. Jensen, Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights By invitation, HRC BORRAR, Human rights implementation and impact, Human rights institutions and mechanisms, Inequality and social rights, SDGs borrar, Special Procedures, Thematic human rights issues

‘The world is at an existential crossroads.’ These are the opening words in the outgoing UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston’s final report to the UN Human Rights Council submitted in July 2020. Professor Philip Alston, one of the world’s most distinguished human rights experts, used his five-year tenure to put a spotlight on the …

What the ‘US Commission on Unalienable Rights’ gets wrong about the UN

by Ryan Kaminski, Security Fellow, Truman National Security Project Blog BORRAR, Blog BORRAR, By invitation, By invitation BORRAR, Civil society BORRAR, Human Rights Council BORRAR, Human rights institutions and mechanisms, Human rights institutions and mechanisms BORRAR, Special Procedures, Thematic human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC BORRAR

On July 16, the US State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights, tasked with providing ‘advice on human rights grounded in [U.S.] founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,’ released its draft report . Policy, legal, and rights experts have since opined on the Commission’s problematic conceptual approach.  The report’s conclusions on the UN human rights system should …

What do the US protests and the UK’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic tell us about inequality, discrimination and social rights in the ‘Anglosphere’?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog BORRAR, Blog BORRAR, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues BORRAR, Human rights institutions and mechanisms, Inequality and social rights, Social rights BORRAR, Special Procedures, Thematic human rights issues

Violence erupts across more than 75 US cities on a sixth night of protests sparked by the death in police custody of African American George Floyd. In London, the UK Government delays the release of an official review of the impacts of COVID-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Britons. At the end of April one of the UN’s …

Is the world really ‘backsliding’ on human rights, and is it getting worse with the Covid-19 pandemic?

by the URG team Blog BORRAR, Blog BORRAR, Human rights implementation and impact, Human rights institutions and mechanisms, Implementation BORRAR, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms BORRAR, Special Procedures, Treaty Bodies, Universal Periodic Review

Even before the outbreak of the current COVID-19 pandemic, commentary on the worldwide human rights situation was characterised, to a large degree, by negative assertions of an unfolding human rights crisis. Powered by influential voices at the UN, as well as by civil society and the media, the general public narrative was often one of backsliding in the world’s major …

The UN human rights treaty system: Getting closer to the ground?

by Christof Heyns, Professor of Human Rights Law, Univeristy of Pretoria and Member of the UN Human Rights Committee and Willem Gravett, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria Blog BORRAR, Blog BORRAR, By invitation, By invitation BORRAR, Human rights institutions and mechanisms, Human rights institutions and mechanisms BORRAR, Special Procedures, Treaty Bodies

In a 2017 post on this site (and drawing on an idea advanced 20 years ago by Christof Heyns and Frans Viljoen ), we argued that the current process of reform of the human rights treaty system should include efforts to “bring the treaty system closer to the people on the ground.” More specifically, treaty bodies should not only conduct their work in Geneva, but also hold meetings away from their home base, in particular in the …

The Human Rights Council in 2020 – Views of the 14th President of the Human Rights Council H.E. Ms. Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger

by H.E. Elisabeth TICHY-FISSLBERGER, President of the UN Human Rights Council Blog BORRAR, Blog BORRAR, By invitation, By invitation BORRAR, HRC BORRAR, Human Rights Council BORRAR, Human rights implementation and impact, Human rights institutions and mechanisms, Human rights institutions and mechanisms BORRAR, Special Procedures, Universal Periodic Review

Geneva, 20 February 2020 It is a very special honour for me to preside over the Human Rights Council during this year, and I am fully aware of the responsibility I have assumed from my predecessor. The Human Rights Council is unique in many ways. Unlike many other UN bodies, the Council provides a place where States and civil society …

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 BORRAR, Blog BORRAR, By invitation, By invitation BORRAR, Climate, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues BORRAR, Human rights institutions and mechanisms, Special Procedures, Thematic 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. …