Making AI trustworthy: the EU’s proposed legal framework for regulating artificial intelligence

by Courtney Halverson, URG NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a plethora of uses, spanning from surprising and beneficial applications, like applying the same technology used to analyse pastries to identify cancer cells, to potentially detrimental and intrusive applications, like using facial recognition to track citizens. The European Union’s new proposal for a legal framework to govern AI suggests that the introduction of ethical, human centered regulations can both …

What we talk about when we talk about accountability

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group and Anna-Christina Schmidl, Universal Rights Group Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

On 27 May 2010, addressing the Rome Statute Review Conference of the International Criminal Court in Kampala, Uganda, then-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon heralded the ‘birth of a new Age of Accountability.’ More than a decade on, in the face of devastating conflicts and a global pandemic that has reinforced structural inequalities and led to a deterioration in the state of human …

Who controls ‘town square’: amidst a public health crisis, India battles social media companies to curb dissent

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

Amidst the collapse of the public health system in India and an atmospheric rise in COVID-19 cases, social media platforms became ‘town squares’; centres of desperate coordination for supplies as well as outlets for growing frustration at the government’s failure to prevent thousands of deaths. The Government of Narendra Modi has in turn pressured social media companies to block posts and remove …

Generation Equality Forum 2021: A light at the end of the gender inequality tunnel?

by Vany Cortés, Universal Rights Group Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

In his virtual address at the inauguration ceremony of the Generation Equality Forum 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron remarked that ‘no country in the world has yet achieved complete equality between men and women’. This observation crystallises the alarming state of gender equality almost 26 years after the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the adoption of the landmark …

The Human Rights Council is failing the Palestinian people; here is how to change that

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

The Human Rights Council has long cast an outsized gaze at events in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), and especially at the serious human rights violations committed by Israel, the occupying power. As of the end of 2020, the Council had adopted 70 resolutions on the human rights situation in the OPT, and held seven Special Sessions – far more than any …

Report of the 30th Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

by the URG team Blog, Blog, Reportes, URG Human Rights Council Reports

On Thursday 27th May 2021, the Human Rights Council convened a Special Session to address ‘the grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem’. The Special Session was requested via an official letter dated 19 May 2021 and signed by H.E Mr. Khalil Hashmi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Pakistan, and Coordinator of the Organization of …

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic may finally be in sight, but is everyone included?

by Rebecca Lily Shepard, Universal Rights Group Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Uncategorized @nyc

Addressing the opening of the 74th World Health Assembly in Geneva on Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that ‘unless we act now, we face a situation in which rich countries vaccinate the majority of their people and open their economies, while the virus continues to cause deep suffering by circling and mutating in the poorest countries.’ This sharp criticism of …

No more procrastination on climate change, says German Constitutional Court in landmark decision

by Anna-Christina Schmidl, Universal Rights Group Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 24 March 2021, the First Senate of the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) rendered its long-awaited decision on four constitutional complaints [1] brought in relation to Germany’s Federal Climate Change Act (Bundes-Klimaschutzgesetz) of 2019. The plaintiffs – some of whom are young climate activists – had alleged, in part , that the Act violates the fundamental rights of future generations by failing to prescribe in sufficient detail a long-term pathway for …

Vaccine nationalism: Is US support for vaccine patent waivers a PR stunt?

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

The Biden administration made headlines on 5 May when, in a sharp reversal of US policy, it accounted its agreement, in principle, with proposals at the WTO to waive patent protection for COVID-19 vaccines. Pharma companies and stockbrokers were not the only ones taken by surprise by the US volte-face. Other Western States where COVID-19 vaccines are produced, especially in …

Trump, Facebook, democracy and rights: ‘how to handle free speech in an age of information chaos’

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy, Uncategorized @nyc

Writing in the Guardian on 5 May, Alan Rusbridger, a former newspaper editor and now member of the Facebook Oversight Board, set out in stark terms the dilemma facing the Board as it reviewed the social media giant’s decision, last January, to ban then President Donald Trump from its platform. ‘On 6 January, he was the president of the United States: probably …