‘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 …

URG welcomes passage of landmark new UN resolution on prevention

by the URG team Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, News, Press, URG News

Wednesday 7th October 2020, Geneva The Universal Rights Group (URG) welcomes today’s passage of an important new Human Rights Council resolution on the prevention of human rights violations and emergencies. The resolution, led by Norway, Sierra Leone, Switzerland and Uruguay, was adopted by vote at the 45th session of the Council with 32 in favour, 11 abstentions and 3 against (Bahrain, Cameroon and Venezuela). …

What are the world’s human rights priorities in 2020, and what to look out for in 2021?

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

Human rights analysis of high-level speeches during the general debate of the UN General Assembly Each fall, world leaders descend upon New York to speak at the general debate of the UN General Assembly (GA). This year, because of the COVID-19  pandemic , world leaders were invited to send in pre-recorded videos of their speeches which were broadcast ‘as live.’ The …

Using digital technology to systematically violate the right to vote: How the Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign used AI to suppress the votes of Black Americans

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

29th September 2020 On 28 September, the UK’s Channel 4 News revealed that it had obtained a data cache used by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, which contained evidence that the campaign had sought to digital technology to deter 3.5 million Black Americans by targeting them with tailored, negative ads. While digital tools and social media platforms can in principle strengthen …

EU Council paralysis over situation in Belarus demonstrates urgent need for EU Magnitsky act

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

As the human rights situation in Belarus has continued to deteriorate, efforts by the European Union to impose sanctions on Belarussian officials have stalled due to a failure to meet unanimity within the EU Council (i.e. the Union’s body comprised of heads of member States that is responsible for making unanimous decisions on its Common Foreign and Security Policy). This …

‘Stumbling zombie-like into a digital welfare dystopia’: Are world governments capable of putting digital technology at the service of equality, non-discrimination, and social and economic rights?

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

The Human Rights Council and the wider UN human rights system have regularly considered the human rights implications of new technologies (e.g. resolution 20/08 on the ‘Promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet’). Over recent years, that interest has intensified . The most recent Council text on the subject – resolution 41/11 on ‘New and emerging digital technologies and human rights,’ adopted …

Report of the Council’s urgent debate on the situation of human rights in Belarus during HRC45

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

On Friday 18 September 2020, in the context of the 45th session of the Human Rights Council, which opened on Monday 14 September, an urgent debate was convened on the ‘situation of human rights in Belarus ’. The urgent debate was requested through an official letter from H. E. Ambassador Michael von Ungern-Sternberg of Germany on behalf of the European Union (EU) and addressed to …

Is digital technology rotting British and American democracy from the inside out

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

The rapid evolution and spread of digital technology are already having a major impact on the enjoyment of civil and political rights around the world, and on the ways in which democracies function. Some of those impacts are undoubtedly positive. Digital technology, for example, allows citizens to scrutinise the actions and decisions of government officials (e.g. in the context of …

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 …