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.

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URG Insights

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

by Amanda Gu, 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 Nations (UN) has recognised the financial benefits of this emerging technology in helping to achieve the Sustainable Development goals, although the current lack of regulation around FinTech leaves much room for improvement.  The uses of FinTech Financial technology (FinTech) describes…

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previous URG Insights

More restrictive demonstration and protest laws risk eroding fundamental democratic values

by Tess Brennan, 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 a shift in perception as to what constitutes an acceptable level of freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association. This worrying trend is prevalent in, but not exclusive to the US, as similar measures have…

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Environmental Justice, Climate Change and the Right to a Healthy Environment in the Biden Administration

by Professor Dan Magraw, President Emeritus of the Centre for International Environmental Law

28 April 2021 United States President Joe Biden has prioritized achieving environmental justice and combatting climate change, following up on campaign pledges. The Biden Administration’s focus on climate change is evident in early Executive Orders (EOs)[i] and in the April 22 Climate Summit that he convened. President Biden’s focus on environmental justice (EJ) is manifested in the same EOs. He has also proposed wide-ranging legislation regarding climate change in his American Jobs Plan, which also contains major elements relating to EJ[ii]. Also before Congress is the Environmental Justice For All Act championed by Vice-President Kamala Harris, a law which would…

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Recent US report of Russian election interference reveals how disinformation can exploit existing divides to erode trust in democracy

by Amanda Gu, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 16 March 2021, the US National Intelligence Council released a declassified report detailing what they found to be the extent of Russian interference in the 2020 US Presidential Election. US President Joe Biden issued a strong rebuke and one month later on 15 April his administration announced sanctions and other retributory measures. According to the report, Russian disinformation campaigns aimed to sow chaos and delegitimise the election by undermining citizens’ access to quality information - an attack on the foundations of democracy - by playing off pre-existing societal divides and by employing political microtargeting strategies.  Russia’s disinformation campaign and…

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New state-level legislation threatens to erode voting rights and the US’ ability to live up to democratic standards

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC

State lawmakers across the US have recently sought to pass legislation which will significantly limit voting access. These attacks on voter rights come on the heels of repeated claims that the 2020 presidential election was marred by widespread voter fraud. The claims are rooted in former Republican President Donald Trump’s ‘Big Lie’: that the election was stolen from him. Republican lawmakers argue new legislation is needed to prevent voter fraud. In actuality, the bills are rooted in misleading claims and will disenfranchise thousands of voters in the US, particularly minority communities. The Republican-led effort to restrict voting rights at the…

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latest policy report

March 2021

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

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

#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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The Human Rights Council in 2020

What were the main developments, achievements and flash-points at the Human Rights Council in 2020? What were the Council’s principle outputs and what kind of impact…

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

The international community has invested enormous time and energy in building the international human rights system over the past 70 years. Yet for as long…

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