The pandemic, prevention and politics: the High Commissioner and HRC President highlight cross-cutting human rights work at the Third Committee

by Tess Kidney Bishop, Universal Rights Group NYC Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, New York City, Universal Rights Group NYC

As part of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, both the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the President of the Human Rights Council gave statements to the Third Committee. Statements, and the interactive dialogues with member States that followed, were conducted virtually and not without the occasional technological hiccup. Nevertheless, a higher number of states participated than …

Introducing ‘The Pacific Principles of Practice’ for effective national implementation

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms

On 3 July a Human Rights Council side event was held at the Australian Mission in Geneva. Except for the fact that it was a COVID-era ‘hybrid’ side event, held simultaneously offline and online, at a superficial-level the side event was much like any other. Yet dig a little below the surface and the event was extraordinary – or rather, it marked …

Is COVID-19 proving to be the ‘Achilles’ heel’ of the world’s populist leaders?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The rise of populist leaders around the world, with their particularly Orwellian brand of post-truth politics, has been one of the defining geopolitical trends of the past five years. From Trump to Orban, Bolsonaro to Johnson, and Erdogan to Modi, these politicians have seemed to carry all before them. Yet perhaps they have finally met their match in COVID-19? Although …

Protecting the rights of older persons during the COVID-19 pandemic

by Alfonso Barragues, Deputy Director, UNFPA Liaison Office in Geneva Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, By invitation

As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has pointed out, the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most dangerous challenges the world has faced in our lifetime. It is a human crisis with severe health and economic consequences. That is particularly the case for older persons who face a higher mortality risk, with those over 80 years old dying at five times …

Sudan outlaws Female Genital Mutilation: what does it mean for women’s rights in the country?

by Tiago Medeiros Delgado, Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms

In a significant move for women’s rights in Sudan and the wider region, the country’s transitional government has outlawed the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The amendment to the criminal code that makes ‘whoever removed, mutilated the female genitalia by cutting, mutilating or modifying any natural part of it leading to the full or partial loss of its functions’ punishable …

Contact Tracing and challenges to privacy

by Dr. Jonathan Andrew, Research Fellow, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The RightOn webinar earlier this week brought together experts to discuss the use of technologies to facilitate contact tracing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and asked whether such approaches represented a risk to the right to privacy. A diverse range of perspectives on human rights law – including those of civil society, computer science, academia and the telecommunications industry – informed …

Guterres urges governments to put human rights upfront in their response to COVID-19

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

At the end of April UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched an important new report calling for human rights to be placed upfront in guiding the international community’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The report, entitled ‘We are all in this together: human rights and COVID-19 response and recovery,’ pushes the key message that human rights are critical, not just …

What are friends for?: ‘Groups of Friends’ and the UN system

by David Joseph Deutch, Universal Rights Group NYC Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, New York City, Universal Rights Group NYC

Having arisen out of the post Cold War period, the concept of ‘Groups of Friends’ represented a newly found faith and belief in the power of multilateralism as a means of global problem solving. Groups of friends are coalitions of United Nations (UN) member states, who band together in order to further and actualise particular goals and outcomes related to …

Placing human rights at the heart of prevention: Short analysis of the report of the group of experts on ‘the contribution of the Council to prevention’

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Ever since the establishment of the UN in 1946, the Organisation has recognised the central importance and value of prevention and declared its determination to place the approach at the centre of its work. Indeed, the very first words of the UN Charter make clear that the UN’s overriding mission is to prevent the gross and systematic human rights abuses …

URG’s verdict on the UN Secretary-General’s ‘Call to Action’: a missed opportunity

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog

On Monday 24 February, the first day of the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC43), UN Secretary-General António Guterres launched a new ‘Call to action for human rights.’ Rumours of a ‘major announcement’ from the Secretary-General had been circulating since late last year, and were confirmed by Guterres himself in a keynote speech to the General Assembly on 22 January. In it, he identified four key contemporary challenges facing humanity (he called …