What we talk about when we talk about accountability

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group and Anna-Christina Schmidl, Universal Rights Group Geneva Asuntos contemporáneos y emergentes, Blog, Blog, Instituciones, procesos y mecanismos de derechos humanos internacionales

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 …

Who controls ‘town square’: amidst a public health crisis, India battles social media companies to curb dissent

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

Amidst the collapse of the public health system in India and an atmospheric rise in COVID-19 cases, social media platforms became ‘town squares’; centres of desperate coordination for supplies as well as outlets for growing frustration at the government’s failure to prevent thousands of deaths. The Government of Narendra Modi has in turn pressured social media companies to block posts and remove …

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

by Vany Cortés, Universal Rights Group Geneva Asuntos contemporáneos y emergentes, Blog, Blog

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 …

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

by Rebecca Lily Shepard, Universal Rights Group Geneva Asuntos contemporáneos y emergentes, Blog, Blog, Uncategorized @lac

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 …

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 …

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 Bajo la lupa: democracia, Blog, Blog, Uncategorized @lac

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 …

Sisyphean endeavours and unfinished business: UN Secretary-General Guterres lays out his vision for a second term, including a conference on human rights and renewed focus on prevention

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 8 January 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres notified the General Assembly (GA) President Volkan Bozkir and Security Council President for January Tarek Ladeb of his intentions to run for re-election. On 23 March, Guterres sent his Vision Statement to Bozkir, and on 7 May, engaged in an informal dialogue with the GA. Given that Guterres will likely succeed in securing a second term, his …

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 …

More restrictive demonstration and protest laws risk eroding fundamental democratic values

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC Bajo la lupa: democracia, Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

Republican lawmakers in the United States have recently introduced new legislation at the state level regarding protests and demonstrations. The bills collectively place greater restrictions on individual protest rights and increase the penalties for those charged under such provisions. The majority of laws are currently pending, but send a dangerous message even if they do not pass. This movement indicates …