What do the US protests and the UK’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic tell us about inequality, discrimination and social rights in the ‘Anglosphere’?

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

Violence erupts across more than 75 US cities on a sixth night of protests sparked by the death in police custody of African American George Floyd. In London, the UK Government delays the release of an official review of the impacts of COVID-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Britons. At the end of April one of the UN’s …

Inequality, discrimination and social rights in the ‘Anglosphere’

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

At the end of April one of the UN’s most high-profile Special Rapporteurs, Philip Alston , finished his six-year mandate on extreme poverty and human rights . Over that time, he completed around a dozen country missions to places including Spain, Malaysia, Lao, Ghana, Saudi Arabia and China. Yet in many ways his tenure as Special Rapporteur was defined by two visits in particular: to the United States (December 2017). and …

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 …

Is COVID-19 forcing America to reconsider its views on ‘fake news’ and freedom of expression?

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

Back in February, during a preparatory meeting of the 2020 Glion Human Rights Dialogue at the Permanent Mission of Mexico , one of the most contentious discussion points was how – and indeed whether – States should manage the growing problem of ‘fake news,’ especially online. During the dialogue, a diplomat from South-East Asia presented her government’s pioneering efforts to address ‘fake news’ where it threatens public safety …

The COVID-19 pandemic: Five urgent principles for leaving no one behind through technology

by Lorna McGregor and Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The UN Secretary General has characterised the pandemic as a ‘public health emergency … an economic crisis. A social crisis. And a human crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis’. Other UN agencies predict global mass unemployment and severe food insecurity . If urgent action is not taken, existing structural inequalities will expand and entrench and threaten the protection of human rights and the …

The UN Secretary-General calls for countering a ‘tsunami of hate’ in the wake of COVID-19

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On May 8 the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres launched a global Appeal to Address and Counter COVID-19 Hate Speech . A few days later, the UN published a Guidance Note on Addressing and Countering COVID-19 related Hate Speech . Both of these follow (and can build upon) steps taken by the UN in response to COVID-19, as well as the 2019 UN Plan of Action on Hate Speech . The SG’s appeal also comes amid an increased awareness of how hate speech and discrimination …

A world made new: Beyond COVID-19 to a low-carbon, resilient and inclusive world

by Dr. Edward Cameron Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

According to her son, Eleanor Roosevelt said the same prayer every night and closed with this wish: ‘save us from ourselves and show us a vision of a world made new.’ This prayer reminds me that in the midst of managing crisis we must also keep one eye on the better future we want to create. COVID-19 is both a …

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 …