The end of the COVID-19 pandemic may finally be in sight, but is everyone included?

by Rebecca Lily Shepard, Universal Rights Group Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Uncategorized

Addressing the opening of the 74th World Health Assembly in Geneva on Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that ‘unless we act now, we face a situation in which rich countries vaccinate the majority of their people and open their economies, while the virus continues to cause deep suffering by circling and mutating in the poorest countries.’ This sharp criticism of …

Trump, Facebook, democracy and rights: ‘how to handle free speech in an age of information chaos’

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy, Uncategorized

Writing in the Guardian on 5 May, Alan Rusbridger, a former newspaper editor and now member of the Facebook Oversight Board, set out in stark terms the dilemma facing the Board as it reviewed the social media giant’s decision, last January, to ban then President Donald Trump from its platform. ‘On 6 January, he was the president of the United States: probably …

What do UK violations of its human rights and other international obligations mean for British democracy?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy, Uncategorized

In theory, democracy is exceptionally resilient. It is buttressed by the different rights set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – ICCPR (e.g. freedom of expression, freedom of opinion, protection of minorities, the right to vote and to stand for office, habeas corpus, access to justice, and the independence of the judiciary) and the International Covenant …

Prospects and priorities for the Human Rights Council in 2021

by H.E Nazhat Shameem Khan, 15th President of the Human Rights Council, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation, Uncategorized

It is my distinct pleasure to wish you bula vinaka, the traditional Fijian greeting, meaning, roughly, ‘happiness and good health,’ as we begin a new year at the Human Rights Council. It is a singular honour for me, and for the government and people of Fiji, that the members of the Human Rights Council have placed their trust in me …

“Vaccine Multilateralism” – Singapore’s approach towards fair and equitable access for COVID-19 vaccines

by Ambassador Umej Bhatia, Permanent Mission of Singapore Blog, Blog, By invitation, Uncategorized

Just a year ago the threat of a global pandemic was treated as a theoretical possibility, the subject of scenario planning or fiction. Pandemic preparedness was expressed in words but not as much in deeds. Today after taking over 1.5 million lives globally, COVID-19 has become a brutal reality-check for us all. It has transformed our societies, impacted the world …

EU adopts ‘Magnitsky’ style individual sanctions regime for grave human rights violations

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

Today, 7 December 2020, the EU formally adopted a decision and regulation establishing its new ‘Magnitsky-style’ individual sanctions regime for serious human rights, only a couple days ahead of 10th December – UN Human Rights Day. The step, coming 77 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is expected to make a significant contribution towards global human …

Human Rights: New challenges – firm commitments and beliefs

by Ambassador Walter STEVENS, Permanent Observer, EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva Uncategorized

A year ago, at a Human Rights Day event in Geneva, I met two very impressive sisters, Amy and Ella Meek, 14 and 16 years old respectively. These two young climate activists go to the barricades against plastic pollution. I also met Memory Banda, a young campaigner against child marriage from Malawi and Hamangai Pataxo, an indigenous rights defender from …

Human rights in Sudan: the new test case for the Human Rights Council

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group and Sandra Petrovic, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Uncategorized

The situation of human rights in Sudan, and the fortunes and history of the UN human rights system, have been closely intertwined for decades. Indeed, one of the reasons the former Commission on Human Rights collapsed after the turn of the century was because Sudan won a seat on the Commission at the same time as the State was responsible …

Scotland taking a child rights based approach further than ever

by Dragan Nastic, Strategic Lead - UNCRC, UNICEF UK Blog, Blog, By invitation, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms, Uncategorized

On 2 September: “The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill” was tabled in the Scottish Parliament to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law. This is a significant moment in realising a widely shared vision of ensuring all children and young people growing up in Scotland have …

Report of the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council

Report on the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council

by the URG team Blog, Blog, Uncategorized, URG Human Rights Council Reports

Quick summary The 42nd regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC42) was held from Monday 9th September to Friday 27th September 2019. On 9th September, H.E. Ms. Michelle Bachelet presented her oral update on the global human rights situation. In it she focused extensively on the climate crisis and identified climate change as ‘a rapidly growing and global threat to human rights.’ …