Scotland taking a child rights based approach further than ever

by Dragan Nastic, Strategic Lead - UNCRC, UNICEF UK Blog, Blog, By invitation, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms, Uncategorized @nyc

On 2 September: “The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill” was tabled in the Scottish Parliament to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law. This is a significant moment in realising a widely shared vision of ensuring all children and young people growing up in Scotland have …

The Tik(Tok)ing of privacy rights in the digital era: the need for an international framework to protect data privacy

by Siri Swayampu, former URG NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

Research estimates that over half of the world’s population is online every day and over 90% of the population aged 6 and older will be online by 2030. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic saw a sustained surge in online activity across the world. Beginning as a breakthrough in communications, the internet phenomenon has since transformed into a revolution that is embedded in every …

Rapid expansion of ‘Magnitsky-style’ human rights sanctions regimes underlines need for international coordination and norms

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

Although July and August are traditionally ‘slow’ months for both governments and the UN, this year they have coincided with an explosion of interest in, and movement towards, so-called ‘Magnitsky-style’ sanction regimes – geared towards holding those guilty of serious human rights violations to individual account. First out the block in early July was the UK, which on 6 July …

UK education scandal has made explicit what has long been implicit: children’s equal right to a quality education is systematically violated in the UK

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

One of the most entertaining exposés of the recent scandal in the UK around A-Level (for 18 year olds) and GCSE results (for 16 year olds), and in particular the automatic, computer-generated (via an algorithm) downgrading of kids from State schools in poorer parts of the country, was undoubtedly provided by James O’Brien of LBC radio. Speaking on 14 August, he explained …

How UN recognition of the right to water and sanitation has informed efforts to secure universal recognition of the right to a healthy, clean and sustainable environment

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

At the end of July, the world celebrated the tenth anniversary of the universal recognition of the right to water and sanitation by the UN General Assembly (GA). To mark the occasion the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller, issued a statement (which can be read here) in which he hailed this …

For 18% of Americans social media is their main source of news – what does this mean for the presidential elections?

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

On 30 July, the Pew Research Center released a report that revealed that one in five Americans use social media for their primary source of news. This report comes at a time of both an intense news cycle, dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic and a fast approaching US presidential election, and when social media usage is at an all-time high . It …

UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights goes out guns blazing against failure to address poverty

by Steven L. B. Jensen Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

‘The world is at an existential crossroads.’ These are the opening words in the outgoing UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston’s final report to the UN Human Rights Council submitted in July 2020. Professor Philip Alston, one of the world’s most distinguished human rights experts, used his five-year tenure to put a spotlight on the …

US presidential candidates set out markedly different positions on human rights, the Human Rights Council and the UN

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Universal Rights Group NYC

With a Presidential election less than 100 days away, over 150,000 American deaths from COVID-19, and a GDP freefall comparable to the Great Depression, the focus of the American voter is very much on domestic, rather than foreign, policy. Yet, a recent draft State Department report contains worrying implications about the human rights foreign (and domestic) policy of a second term Donald …

Putting people at the heart of the human rights treaty body system

by Ashley Bowe, Senior Human Rights Advisor, SPC RRRT and Joshua Cooper, Executive Director, Hawai'i Institute for Human Rights Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Samoa held a ground-breaking treaty body session on child rights, evidencing the benefits of extending these sessions beyond Geneva. Calls for treaty body committees to undertake their sessions  on the ground have been made for decades. The first ever such session recently took place in the Pacific, providing empirical evidence of the significant opportunities and slight obstacles of this practice. The genesis of this session can be traced back …

What the ‘US Commission on Unalienable Rights’ gets wrong about the UN

by Ryan Kaminski, Security Fellow, Truman National Security Project Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Universal Rights Group NYC

On July 16, the US State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights, tasked with providing ‘advice on human rights grounded in [U.S.] founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,’ released its draft report . Policy, legal, and rights experts have since opined on the Commission’s problematic conceptual approach.  The report’s conclusions on the UN human rights system should …