Biden’s decision to rescind the Global Gag Rule could have implications for the US approach to sexual health and reproductive rights at the UN

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

President Biden repealed the Global Gag Rule, which he described as his ‘predecessor’s attack on women’s health access’, via Executive Order on 28 January. This move comes as part of the administration’s plan to protect the rights of women both domestically and abroad. The decision serves as a key indicator for how the US may re-emerge on the world stage as …

The French ‘case of the century’ ushers in new era of environmental litigation

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 3 February 2021, in a historic decision that confirms the growing trend of civil society led public interest litigation founded on the right to a healthy environment, a French administrative court recognised that the French State could be held responsible for failing to meet its commitments to mitigate climate change. In an unparalleled outpouring of public support for the plaintiffs …

Report of the 29th Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the human rights implications of the crisis in Myanmar

by the URG team Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, URG Human Rights Council Reports

On Friday 12th February 2021, the Human Rights Council convened a special session to address ‘the human rights implications of the crisis in Myanmar’.  The special session was requested via an official letter dated 8 February 2021 and signed by H.E. Mr. Julian Braithwaite, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations …

Inequitable access to Covid-19 vaccines threatens the human rights of millions and must be addressed

by Tess Kidney Bishop, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

Covid-19 has shone a stark light onto inequalities between countries. So far, high-income countries have recorded the most cases and deaths, but the economic impact of Covid-19 has been disproportionately harmful to lower-income countries, where governments and citizens have fewer resources to weather the storm. Despite their declarations against ‘vaccine nationalism’, richer countries have paid to get to the front …

The Escazú Agreement: A landmark regional treaty for environmental defenders

by Zaineb Ali, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The international community eagerly awaits the Escazú Agreement to come into force in early 2021 after having secured 12 ratifications (one more than the minimum required – 11). The Escazú Agreement , which emerged from the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), is the first legally binding instrument in the world to include provisions on environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) …

‘Diplomacy is back’ US President Biden prioritizes diplomacy in his first major foreign policy speech, while his Secretary of State announces ‘robust’ re-engagement with Human Rights Council

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

On Thursday 4 February 2021, Biden delivered his first major foreign policy speech . His decision to deliver the speech from the US State Department reflected his rhetoric on reinvesting resources and trust in America’s diplomats, and his words indicated an approach to international policy marked by working with traditional US allies to protect democracy and human rights globally. Promising action …

Prospects and priorities for the Human Rights Council in 2021

by H.E Nazhat Shameem Khan, 15th President of the Human Rights Council, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation, Uncategorized @nyc

It is my distinct pleasure to wish you bula vinaka, the traditional Fijian greeting, meaning, roughly, ‘happiness and good health,’ as we begin a new year at the Human Rights Council. It is a singular honour for me, and for the government and people of Fiji, that the members of the Human Rights Council have placed their trust in me …

New corporate ‘Treaty Body’ gears up to consider Facebook’s decision to bar Donald Trump

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

As reported in the New York Times , its members include two people who were reportedly on presidential shortlists for the US Supreme Court, a Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize laureate, a British Pulitzer Prize winner, a former UN Special Rapporteur, Colombia’s leading human rights lawyer, and a former prime minister of Denmark. Welcome to the Facebook Oversight Board, operational since October 2020 (Mark …

The right to a livable life in a pre and post-pandemic United States

by Jenna Lanoil, former Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, By invitation

Statistics on their own cannot show the impact of COVID-19 on the livability (the sum of factors that determine quality of life) of communities around the world. The effects of COVID-19 are widespread and far reaching, particularly on socio-economic rights, and demonstrate that what might have once been considered ‘livable’ conditions are now proving to be unsustainable. COVID-19 has rocked …

The confirmation hearing for Biden’s choice for UN Ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, indicates a renewed US focus on multilateralism and human rights 

by Amanda Gu, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

As United States President Joe Biden has been officially inaugurated, all eyes are on his cabinet nominees, as they are key to carrying out the President’s agenda. His pick for US Ambassador to the UN is Linda Thomas Greenfield, a career diplomat with over three decades of experience, holding previous posts as the assistant secretary for the Bureau of African American Affairs as well as US ambassador to Liberia . Her Senate confirmation hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was held on 27 January 2020, covered …