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

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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previous URG Insights

Secretary of State Blinken reaffirms the Biden administration’s commitment to multilateralism, democracy and human rights

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC

A key pillar of both Biden’s election campaign and his time in office thus far has been the commitment to re-engage with traditional allies and prioritise a multilateral approach to tackling the greatest global challenges of today, including protecting democracy and promoting universal human rights. While Biden’s rhetoric on the subject has been strong, the wider international community has been increasingly pressuring the administration to demonstrate what such a commitment will look like in practice. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has taken important strides towards addressing this pressure in recent weeks. At a visit to NATO headquarters and a virtual…

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Western States flex their ‘Magnitsky muscles’ to secure accountability for human rights abuses in China

by the URG team

With the return of the US to the UN stage, geopolitical tensions surrounding human rights, especially relating to alleged violations of human rights law by China, Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia, have resurfaced, dominating, for example, the recently concluded 46th session of the Human Rights Council. Central to the renewed tensions with China is deep US concern about the treatment of the country’s Muslim minority population in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, including allegations of arbitrary detention, forced labour and sterilisation campaigns in camps the Chinese Government claim serve ‘vocational training’ and ‘re-education’ purposes. While there had already been Western…

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How do you solve a problem like WhatsApp? The complicated role of messaging apps in the fight against disinformation and for free speech

by Tess Kidney Bishop, Universal Rights Group NYC

Much of the debate around the spread of misinformation and online harassment has been focused on the biggest social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and, more recently, TikTok. Messaging apps, like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat, and the increasingly popular Telegram and Signal, have nearly as many users as these platforms and are also rife with disinformation, hate speech and even incitements to violence. At the same time, they are also vital tools for activists and journalists the world over, seeking to ensure they can communicate safely and secretly.  As Facebook and Twitter have started doing more to…

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The class-blindness of human rights

by Dr. Andrew Fagan, Director, University of Essex, Human Rights Centre

If you are reading this piece, it’s unlikely that you are, or that you originate from, a working-class background. I say this not as a rebuke. Nor do I intend to question your commitment to social justice and human rights. As a class migrant myself, I am also not claiming that the human rights community doesn’t include people who still consider themselves to be working class, or who may have been formed within working class environments. What I hope to achieve in this short piece, is to identity and draw attention to the damaging consequences of a continuing blindness to…

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latest policy report

February 2021

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

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

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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Guide to the 2020 Human Rights Council Elections

The sixth annual yourHRC.org Guide to the Human Rights Council elections provides comprehensive at-a-glance information on the 2020 Council elections (tentatively scheduled to take place…

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