Report on the 75th session of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly

by URG-NYC Team Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, New York City, Universal Rights Group NYC

Quick summary During the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the Third Committee, tasked with addressing human rights issues and concerns, ran from 5 October – 20 November at UN Headquarters in New York, and online (due to the COVID-19 pandemic). This year’s Third Committee featured presentations by a number of senior UN officials, including Ms. Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human …

Time for the Human Rights Council to strengthen its focus on democracy and free and fair elections

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy

16 November 2020, Geneva US diplomats are said to be horrified by the refusal of President Donald Trump, and senior Republicans from inside and outside the administration, to recognise the results of the 3 November 2020 presidential elections, their refusal to sign off on – for the moment – a smooth transition, and, more broadly, their efforts to sow doubts about …

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 …

The dangers of Trump’s attacks on American democracy – and the need to reinvigorate that democracy based on rights

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy, Universal Rights Group NYC

On the night of the US Presidential election, as predicted, no winner could be called, with millions of ballots yet to be counted in key battleground states. An impatient President Donald Trump began tweeting that he had won and that his win was being taken from him. As the days crawled by, and more and more votes were counted and …

What will US foreign policy look like under President Joe Biden?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy

Those listening to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory speech over the weekend would have heard him make a fleeting reference to his vision for resetting US foreign policy and renewing America’s global leadership. “Tonight,” he said , “the whole world is watching America. I believe at our best, America is a beacon for the globe. And we lead not by the example …

At 75 years old, global survey indicates that the UN has plenty of room for growth on the human rights agenda

by Tess Kidney Bishop, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

This year, the United Nations turns 75. Secretary-General António Gutteres has made clear that the anniversary should not simply be about celebrating the UN’s successes but a ‘global reality check’ focused on listening to the public. So, it is being marked with a global consultation on international cooperation and the priorities of the world’s citizens, as well as a series …

At the Universal Periodic Review in November, the world can also cast its vote for America

by Joshua Cooper, Lecturer, University of Hawai’i, National Universal Periodic Review Task Force Co-Chair, US Human Rights Network Blog, Blog, By invitation

Early November will be an extremely engaging experience for the United States of America, with an election that will determine the future of American democracy. Equally exhilarating, one week later, will be the opportunity the world will have to cast its vote during a 3.5 hour peer review of the US’ human rights record during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) …

Biden signals intent to drive global progress on democracy, human rights, and free and fair elections

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy

28 October 2020, Geneva With the US presidential election only days away, and millions of votes already cast through early voting and absentee ballots, in an election cycle fraught with fears about voter suppression and the weakening of American democracy, a speech given by Democratic candidate Joe Biden that centers democracy at home and abroad has taken on greater meaning. …

Re-imagining human rights for New Zealand

by Paul Hunt, University of Essex (UK); University of Waikato (New Zealand) Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, In focus: democracy

This article was first published in the Dominion Post on October 16 and re-published on the Human Rights Centre Blog of the University of Essex on 26 October 2020 There’s a global pushback against human rights. Around the world, authoritarian “strongmen” are behaving like Roman Emperors. Supported by their disaffected ‘base’, they peddle racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance. …

The impact of the 2020 US presidential elections on human rights and international institutions

by Melissa Hooper, Sophia Swanson, Anna van Niekerk, Human Rights First Blog, Blog, By invitation, New York City

The United States has always had a somewhat contentious relationship with the international human rights project. It has never ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (which today has over 150 states parties) or the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (which has 185). It became the sole holdout on the Convention …