Policy report

Building a coherent Human Rights Council-Security Council relationship – The prevention of human rights crises, violent conflict and atrocity crimes

27 April 2021

Part I of this report looks at prevention as a framework for understanding the relationship between the UNSC and the UNHRC, while Part II presents a series of case studies showing how the UNHRC–UNSC relationship has operated in the past.

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Policy report

Realizing rights, changing lives: The impact of the United Nations human rights system on the enjoyment of children’s rights

12 November 2020

The six country case studies presented in this groundbreaking new report by UNICEF and URG, show, beyond question, that the UN human rights compliance mechanisms, complemented by the wider UN system, have had and continue to have a clear and measurable impact on the domestic enjoyment of human rights.

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Policy report

7th meeting of the Istanbul Process

9 September 2020

The report on the 7th meeting of the Istanbul Process seeks to summarise some of the key points made during each part of the meeting, and to collate some of the best practices shared in that context.

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Policy report

A World Made New: Beyond COVID-19 to a low-carbon, resilient and inclusive world

13 May 2020

This new policy brief issues a call for governments to leverage economic rescue and stimulus packages to build a better, more socially just, greener and more resilient post-crisis world.

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Inside Track HRC43

21 February 2020

Concise information and insight on the upcoming 43rd session of the Human Rights Council

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Policy report

The Prevention Council: The business case for placing human rights at the heart of the UN’s prevention agenda

3 February 2020

The report calls on the international community to learn from past mistakes and place a robust Human Rights Council prevention strategy at the centre of the Secretary-General's revitalised prevention agenda.

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The Human Rights Council in 2019

6 December 2019

A written analysis of the main events and development at the Council in 2019, as well as data on the quantitative evolution of the Council’s work since the body’s establishment in 2006.

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Policy report

OSLO+1

13 November 2019

Informe de la segunda reunión informal de socios para el desarrollo sobre: Apoyo internacional para la implementación nacional de las recomendaciones de derechos humanos de la ONU, incluyendo como una contribución a los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible

Esta fue la segunda reunión informal sobre cómo podría aprovecharse mejor la cooperación internacional para apoyar la implementación nacional de las obligaciones y compromisos internacionales de derechos humanos...

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Policy report

Policy or aspiration: Shedding light on the Human Rights Up Front initiative

29 October 2019

The question of ‘what happened to Human Rights up Front’ is an oft-repeated refrain in meetings with New York civil society. However, little consistent and clear information has been provided by the UN secretariat on the status of the initiative...

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Policy report

Ocho años del proceso de Estambul para combatir la intolerancia religiosa: un balance

7 October 2019

El principal marco de política intergubernamental para combatir la intolerancia religiosa, la estigmatización, la discriminación, la incitación a la violencia y la violencia contra las personas basadas en la religión o las creencias se establece en la resolución 16/18 del Consejo de Derechos Humanos (Consejo) y su resolución hermana en…

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The Inside Track NY

30 September 2019

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2019 Election guide

27 September 2019

The report is the fifth annual yourHRC.org Guide to the UN Human Rights Council Elections. It provides general information on the 2019 Council elections (scheduled for 16 October at the GA in New York), when States will compete to win seats for new three-year terms (2020-2022)...

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Policy report

Is the global situation of human rights improving or deteriorating? Making the case for the empirical measurement of human rights change

7 October 2019

Measuring human rights performance is not straightforward. Yet it is as important as it is challenging. In the context of the global human rights ‘implementation gap’ that has caught the attention of United Nations (UN) member States, and human rights organisations, professionals and advocates, this policy brief sets out the…

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Policy report

Vision 2021

14 February 2019

Between 2021 and 2026 the UN General Assembly is scheduled to review the status of the Human Rights Council (i.e. should i remain a subsidiary body or become a main body of the UN). URG’s new policy brief provides background information on the 2021-2016 review, and offers thoughts on how…

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The Prevention Council

3 February 2020
For the UN’s prevention agenda to work, it is vital to build a business case for placing human rights at its heart.

URG Insights

Raising the fight against corruption to the top of the international agenda: A proposal for a new Optional Protocol to the ICESCR

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group

The collapse of democracy is Afghanistan, after 20 years and billions of dollars of international engagement; the collapse of democracy in Myanmar following February’s coup d’état and ouster of Aung San Suu Kyi; the collapse of democracy in Sudan following October’s coup d’état and the detention of the civilian government. What do each of these salutary tales of democratic roll-back and international human rights failure have in common? In a word: corruption. Corruption was the cause of the precipitate collapse of democratic government in Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul, and was the primary motivating factor of the army chiefs…

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previous URG Insights

Making it real: Why members of the Human Rights Council should make use of their power to conduct ‘good offices’ missions

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group

From 23-25 October, members of the Security Council carried out country missions to Mali and Niger, under the auspices of the Kenyan presidency of the body. In Mali, they met with members of the Transitional Government, including the Transitional President and Prime Minister, signatory armed groups, representatives of civil society, the Special Representative of the Secretary‑General for Mali, and representatives of the UN country team. Members of the Council used the mission to reiterate the body’s strong support for the mediation efforts of the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union, and urge authorities to complete the…

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Report of the 32nd Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the human rights implications of the ongoing situation in the Sudan

by the URG team

On Friday 5 November 2021, the Human Rights Council convened a Special Session to address the ‘human rights implications of the ongoing situation in the Sudan’. The Special Session was requested via an official letter dated 1 November 2021 and signed by H.E. Simon Manley, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN in Geneva. This letter, addressed to H.E. Nazhat Shameem Khan, the President of the Human Rights Council, was jointly submitted by the ’troika of countries on the Sudan’ (United Kingdom, United States of America, and Norway), Germany and the Government of the Sudan. The…

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Cop 26 and Beyond: A Human Rights-Based Response to Climate Change and Scotland’s Contribution

by Professor Alan Miller, Professor of Practice in Human Rights Law at the University of Strathclyde

Introduction The science and living experience of climate change is no longer for debate. Its current and future impact upon our lives, livelihoods and ways of life represent the greatest 21st Century threat to the enjoyment of human rights. The UN Secretary-General is right to state we are at "Code Red" for humanity. There is hope and it needs COP 26 to signal a leadership of both humility and ambition. The best way to bring this about at and beyond COP 26 is through increased public participation and accountability. Systemic and transformative change is required. Business as usual is unsustainable.…

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Superpower rivalry ‘captures’ the Human Rights Council

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group

As argued in the Universal Rights Group’s end of session report, the recently concluded 48th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC48) was one of the most acrimonious gatherings in the fifteen-year history of the Council, with heightened contemporary geopolitical tensions spilling over into, and in many ways ‘capturing,’ the critical wider work of the UN’s main human rights body. Much of the acrimony was centred on, and much of the growing division generated by, the ‘Great Power’ rivalry of, on the one side, the US, together with its Western (especially Anglo-Saxon) allies, and on the other side, China, Russia,…

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latest policy report

June 2021

Human rights in the digital age: Making digital technology work for human rights

Human rights in the digital age: Making digital technology work for human rights report coverThe seventh Glion Human Rights Dialogue (Glion VII), organised by the Governments of Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and the Universal Rights Group (URG), in partnership with the…

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previous policy reports

Building a coherent Human Rights Council-Security Council relationship - The prevention of human rights crises, violent conflict and atrocity crimes

In her first address to the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) Third Committee as High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2018, Michelle Bachelet urged States…

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#The time is now - The case for universal recognition of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment

This new policy report tells the story of international discussions on human rights and environment, human rights and climate change, and the push for the right…

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OSLO+Digital – International support for the national implementation of UN human rights recommendations, including as a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals during the COVID-19 pandemic

On 9 and 10 June 2020, the Permanent Missions of Denmark and The Netherlands to the UN in Geneva, in cooperation with the Universal Rights…

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URG next event

Dec 06
2021

Building capacities to help environmental human rights defenders in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean find and access support

By invitation only

The Universal Rights Group in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment - David Boyd, and with the support of the Permanent Mission of Denmark in Geneva are organising a virtual workshop, ...

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