No more procrastination on climate change, says German Constitutional Court in landmark decision

by Anna-Christina Schmidl, Universal Rights Group Geneva Asuntos contemporáneos y emergentes, Blog, Blog

On 24 March 2021, the First Senate of the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) rendered its long-awaited decision on four constitutional complaints [1] brought in relation to Germany’s Federal Climate Change Act (Bundes-Klimaschutzgesetz) of 2019. The plaintiffs – some of whom are young climate activists – had alleged, in part , that the Act violates the fundamental rights of future generations by failing to prescribe in sufficient detail a long-term pathway for …

Vaccine nationalism: Is US support for vaccine patent waivers a PR stunt?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Asuntos contemporáneos y emergentes, Blog, Blog

The Biden administration made headlines on 5 May when, in a sharp reversal of US policy, it accounted its agreement, in principle, with proposals at the WTO to waive patent protection for COVID-19 vaccines. Pharma companies and stockbrokers were not the only ones taken by surprise by the US volte-face. Other Western States where COVID-19 vaccines are produced, especially in …

FinTech’s opportunities and risks, and the importance of regulation for the protection of human rights

by Amanda Gu, Universal Rights Group NYC Asuntos contemporáneos y emergentes, Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

Financial technology (FinTech) has been described as a harbinger of change, one that could  impose a new regime of streamlined finance. Although there is some merit to the potential of these services to revolutionise finance, reduce inequality and accelerate development, like any other technology, they require regulation to safeguard against abuses that could have serious human rights impacts. The United …

Western States flex their ‘Magnitsky muscles’ to secure accountability for human rights abuses in China

by the URG team Asuntos contemporáneos y emergentes, Blog, Blog

With the return of the US to the UN stage, geopolitical tensions surrounding human rights, especially relating to alleged violations of human rights law by China, Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia, have resurfaced, dominating , for example, the recently concluded 46th session of the Human Rights Council . Central to the renewed tensions with China is deep US concern about the treatment of the country’s Muslim minority population …

How do you solve a problem like WhatsApp? The complicated role of messaging apps in the fight against disinformation and for free speech

by Tess Kidney Bishop, Universal Rights Group NYC Asuntos contemporáneos y emergentes, Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

Much of the debate around the spread of misinformation and online harassment has been focused on the biggest social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and, more recently, TikTok. Messaging apps, like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat, and the increasingly popular Telegram and Signal, have nearly as many users as these platforms and are also rife with disinformation, hate …

Biden’s American Rescue Plan has the potential to greatly impact children living in poverty

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC Asuntos contemporáneos y emergentes, Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

Despite the growing feeling that the end of the COVID-19 pandemic may be in sight, a staggering number of people worldwide continue to suffer from the consequences wrought. The imperative to provide support to those who have suffered the most and the opportunity to ‘build back better’ have never been more evident. The Biden administration seems to recognise this, as …

Facebook vs. Australia–the latest dispute over the digital space

by Amanda Gu, Universal Rights Group NYC Asuntos contemporáneos y emergentes, Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 18 February, after three years of negotiations over the Australian Media Bargaining Code, Facebook took the controversial decision of implementing a broad ban on all Australian publishers and prevented people in Australia from viewing or posting links to news stories . The ban lasted five days, and was only lifted after the Australian government made concessions. This ongoing disagreement between Facebook and the Australian government is only the latest in …

On it’s one-year anniversary, the Call to Action for Human Rights remains a relevant tool for tackling human rights challenges

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC Asuntos contemporáneos y emergentes, Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

The anniversary of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ The Highest Aspiration: A Call to Action for Human Rights provides a prime opportunity to reflect on its implementation to date. Launched on 24 February 2020 at the opening of the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council, the Call aimed to bring the human rights pillar of the United Nations’ mandate to the forefront of its agenda. As the challenges of 2020 have …

Biden’s decision to rescind the Global Gag Rule could have implications for the US approach to sexual health and reproductive rights at the UN

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC Asuntos contemporáneos y emergentes, Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

President Biden repealed the Global Gag Rule, which he described as his ‘predecessor’s attack on women’s health access’, via Executive Order on 28 January. This move comes as part of the administration’s plan to protect the rights of women both domestically and abroad. The decision serves as a key indicator for how the US may re-emerge on the world stage as …

The French ‘case of the century’ ushers in new era of environmental litigation

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group Asuntos contemporáneos y emergentes, Blog, Blog

On 3 February 2021, in a historic decision that confirms the growing trend of civil society led public interest litigation founded on the right to a healthy environment, a French administrative court recognised that the French State could be held responsible for failing to meet its commitments to mitigate climate change. In an unparalleled outpouring of public support for the plaintiffs …