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 …

Report on the 44th 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 44th regular session of the Human Rights Council ( HRC44 ) was held from Tuesday 30th June to Friday 17th July 2020. On 30th June, H.E. Ms. Michelle Bachelet presented her global update  on the human rights implications of COVID-19. This provided the basis for an interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner on 30th June – 2nd July. Seven panel …

The UK’s new targeted sanctions regime ‘a powerful new tool with which to uphold and protect human rights’

by H.E. Rita French, International Ambassador for Human Rights of the United Kingdom Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 6 July, the UK launched a new ‘Magnitsky-style’ Global Human Rights (GHR) Sanctions Regime. The regime will be a powerful new tool to hold those involved in serious human rights violations and abuses to account. This marks the beginning of a new era for sanctions policy and will change the paradigm in which the UK engages on human rights. …

Human rights strategies of governance

by Dr Bertrand G. Ramcharan Blog, Blog, By invitation

June 26, 2020 COVID-19 and the response to it is changing the world. Problems of climate change, pandemics, poverty, inequality, injustices, inadequate health systems, prejudice, and societal inequities have been revealed in sharper light, even as dynamic uses of new forms of communication, the internet, technology and science, pioneer new pathways to the future. Violence against women and abuses by …

France’s watered-down anti-hate speech law enters into force

by the URG team Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, In focus: democracy, In Focus: Human rights and religion

On 1 July a new French law entered into force that aims to regulate online hate speech. Known as the ‘Avia law’ after Laetitia Avia, the parliamentarian who drafted the original bill, the final law was significantly watered down during its passage through the lower house of parliament and the Senate, following opposition from free speech activists. Then, in an …

New UK Magnitsky-style human rights sanction regime ‘an important step forward for accountability’

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy

Last Monday (6 July 2020), the UK became the latest country to join the growing ‘ Magnitsky momentum ’ by passing the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations , allowing the Government to sanction alleged perpetrators of the gravest forms of human rights violations. Introducing the Regulations in Parliament, the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, said : “Today this Government and this House sends a very clear message on …

Introducing ‘The Pacific Principles of Practice’ for effective national implementation

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms

On 3 July a Human Rights Council side event was held at the Australian Mission in Geneva. Except for the fact that it was a COVID-era ‘hybrid’ side event, held simultaneously offline and online, at a superficial-level the side event was much like any other. Yet dig a little below the surface and the event was extraordinary – or rather, it marked …