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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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

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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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

Report on the 50th session of the Human Rights Council

by the URG team

Quick summary The 50th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC50) was held from Monday 13 June to Friday 8 July 2022. The Human Rights Council marked its 50th session through a high-level interactive discussion that provided stakeholders an opportunity to reflect on the achievements made and the lessons learned since its 1st session (concept note – video). On 1 July 2022, an urgent debate was convened on the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. The voting on draft  resolution 50/L.62 on the ‘situation of human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan’ was suspended until Friday…

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previous URG Insights

Report on the Urgent Debate on the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan

by the URG team

On July 1 2022, during the 50th session of the Human Rights Council, which opened on June 13 2022, an urgent debate was convened on ‘the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.’  The urgent debate was requested in an official letter from H.E. Mrs. Lotte Knudsen, Permanent Observer of the European Union, and H.E. M. Jérôme Bonnafont, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in Geneva, addressed to the President of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Federico Villegas, on 23 June 2022.  Urgent debates can be initiated during a regular session of the Human Rights Council to…

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The French Development Agency organised an international conference to consider new ideas and approaches to linking human rights and development

by Farid LAMARA, Expert in Human Development and Senior strategic advisor, Agence Française de Développement, Sarah HAYES, Independent Consultant Human Rights and Sustainable Development

Against a background of the retreat of human rights worldwide, growing doubts about the ability of the international community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, growing inequalities, and the ecological and climate crises, on Human Rights Day 2021 (10 December) the French Development Agency (AFD) organised an international conference on ‘Human Rights and Development.’ It brought together 500 actors from the development community, covering both the global North and South, and considered how development actors can play a key role in securing improvements in the enjoyment of human rights while at the same time recharging progress towards…

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Time to ask again: is being the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights an impossible job?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group

In February 2018, I published a blog on the early departure of the previous High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. The blog responded to David Petrasek’s article in OpenGlobaRights entitled ‘Another one bites the dust’ (8 February 2018). The article attempted to look past Zeid’s stated reasons for leaving his post (in effect, that the worldwide retreat from human rights had made his position untenable) to the real underlying reason: namely the multifaceted nature of the High Commissioner’s mandate, a mandate that requires the mandate-holder to both publicly criticise States and to work closely with them within…

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Report of the 34th Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression 

by the URG team

On Thursday 12 May 2022, the Human Rights Council convened a Special Session to address ‘the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression’. The Special Session was requested via an official letter dated 9 May and signed by H.E. Yevheniia Filipenko, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations in Geneva. This letter, addressed to H.E. Mr Federico Villegas, President of the Human Rights Council, was officially supported by 16 member States and 36 observer States. In conformity with operative paragraph 10 of the General Assembly resolution 60/251, the Human Rights Council is ‘able…

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latest policy report

May 2022

SUPPORTING ENVIRONMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS: Developing New Guidance for Donors and Civil Society Organisations

SUPPORTING ENVIRONMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS: Developing New Guidance for Donors and Civil Society Organisations report coverOver the last two years, the Alliance for Land, Indigenous, and Environmental Defenders (ALLIED) worked closely with defenders and local organisations in five countries: Brazil,…

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previous policy reports

Understanding and responding to the protection needs of climate activists and movements

As climate change impacts our everyday lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems, significantly harming the world’s most vulnerable populations, thousands of individuals and groups have raised their…

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The Human Rights Council in 2021

What were the main developments, achievements and flash-points at the Human Rights Council in 2021? What were the Council’s principle outputs and what kind of…

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Placing digital technology at the service of democracy and human rights (3D2)

From 16-17 November, a high-level meeting of State representatives, UN officials, technology company representatives, and civil society, took place in Montreux, Switzerland, as well as…

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