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 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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previous URG Insights

International borders: Dividing lines for Indigenous Peoples’ rights

by Marine KRAUZMAN, URG Geneva

Today, nearly 476 million Indigenous Peoples live in 90 countries across the world, accounting for 5,000 different cultures and 6.2 percent of the world population. Many of these communities live across national borders, such as the Amazighs in North Africa, the Mapuche at the Chile-Argentina border, or the Sámi in Northern Europe. Current border governance practices often hamper Indigenous Peoples’ full enjoyment of land rights when access to land is essential to guarantee their livelihoods, food security and cultural survival. While existing international legal frameworks recognise these cross-border rights, to this day they have not been fully realised. There are,…

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Council President speaks of centrality of human rights to the  multilateral system, including to peace and security, and sustainable development

by Abigail WEISS, URG Fellow

On April 21, 2022, Ambassador Federico Villegas of Argentina, the President of the Human Rights Council, gave a lecture at the New School in downtown New York, on the place of human rights in the UN system. Although he touched on a variety of themes, a key point was that human rights is integral to - and should be better linked with - crisis/conflict prevention, peace and security, and sustainable development. Respect for human rights is, he said, ‘the best way to prevent conflict.’ It is also, he added, ‘the best way of reconstructing the social and institutional fabric of…

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#TheTimeIsNow – UN recognition of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment: Past developments and future prospects

by Abigail WEISS, URG Fellow

Last week, the URG, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, Dr. David Boyd, in partnership with New York University, held an expert seminar to look ahead towards the possible UN General Assembly recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment (R2HE). Over the course of the seminar, the panelists gave informative and often heartfelt speeches – making the compelling point that GA recognition of R2HE is not only justified, but urgent. Furthermore, it was repeatedly noted that R2HE is broadly supported by civil society, by private…

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Report on the 49th session of the Human Rights Council

by the URG team

Quick summary  The 49th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC49) was held from Monday 28 February to Friday 1 April 2022. As the main annual session of the Council, HRC49 began with a High-Level Segment (HLS). The 2022 HLS included speeches by more than 120 world leaders, including six Heads or Deputy Heads of State, five Heads or Deputy Heads of Government, and 107 Ministers or Vice-Ministers. An analysis of the content and focus of the high-level speeches can be read here. In the wake of the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, the Council held an…

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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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