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 …

Human rights in Sudan: the new test case for the Human Rights Council

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group and Sandra Petrovic, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Uncategorized @nyc

The situation of human rights in Sudan, and the fortunes and history of the UN human rights system, have been closely intertwined for decades. Indeed, one of the reasons the former Commission on Human Rights collapsed after the turn of the century was because Sudan won a seat on the Commission at the same time as the State was responsible …

US co-host virtual signing ceremony of the Geneva Consensus Declaration in latest pushback on women’s rights

by Anna Mattedi, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In Focus: Human rights and religion

On Thursday 22 October 2020, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, co-hosted a virtual signing ceremony of the Geneva Consensus Declaration on ‘Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family’. During the ceremony, a coalition of 30 States, repeatedly denied women’s right to an abortion in the guise of protecting national sovereignty and …

Reinvesting in rights: Why the next US administration must prioritize multilateralism to protect human rights

by Grace Anderson, Stanford University Ford Fellow in Philanthropy Blog, Blog, By invitation, New York City

October 21, 2020 Over the past four years, the Trump Administration has slowly abdicated its role as a leader in multilateralism and as one of the top promoters of human rights at the UN specifically. At this year’s UN General Assembly (UNGA), President Donald Trump touted a narrow view of human rights, citing priorities of “religious liberty, opportunity for women, the …

‘Even if they contain misinformation…’: how government inaction and interference on social media could mean the hijacking of an election

by Jenna Lanoil, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

‘I know that I have blood on my hands,’ Sophie Zhang, a former Facebook data scientist wrote in a memo about her time with Facebook. Zhang claims that Facebook allowed for heads of state and political parties from around the world to misrepresent themselves through fake accounts and to spread disinformation. She cites in particular an operation by the Azerbaijanian Government …

Report on the 45th session of the Human Rights Council

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

Quick summary The 45th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC45) was held from Monday 14th September to Wednesday 7th October 2020. On 14th September, H.E. Ms. Michelle Bachelet, presented her oral update on the global human rights situation. In the wake of the violent response by the Belarusian authorities to peaceful demonstrations that occurred in the aftermath of President …