Recent US report of Russian election interference reveals how disinformation can exploit existing divides to erode trust in democracy

by Amanda Gu, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 16 March 2021, the US National Intelligence Council released a declassified report detailing what they found to be the extent of Russian interference in the 2020 US Presidential Election. US President Joe Biden issued a strong rebuke and one month later on 15 April his administration announced sanctions and other retributory measures. According to the report, Russian disinformation campaigns aimed …

New state-level legislation threatens to erode voting rights and the US’ ability to live up to democratic standards

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

State lawmakers across the US have recently sought to pass legislation which will significantly limit voting access. These attacks on voter rights come on the heels of repeated claims that the 2020 presidential election was marred by widespread voter fraud. The claims are rooted in former Republican President Donald Trump’s ‘Big Lie’: that the election was stolen from him. Republican …

Secretary of State Blinken reaffirms the Biden administration’s commitment to multilateralism, democracy and human rights

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

A key pillar of both Biden’s election campaign and his time in office thus far has been the commitment to re-engage with traditional allies and prioritise a multilateral approach to tackling the greatest global challenges of today, including protecting democracy and promoting universal human rights. While Biden’s rhetoric on the subject has been strong, the wider international community has been …

Western States flex their ‘Magnitsky muscles’ to secure accountability for human rights abuses in China

by the URG team Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

With the return of the US to the UN stage, geopolitical tensions surrounding human rights, especially relating to alleged violations of human rights law by China, Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia, have resurfaced, dominating , for example, the recently concluded 46th session of the Human Rights Council . Central to the renewed tensions with China is deep US concern about the treatment of the country’s Muslim minority population …

How do you solve a problem like WhatsApp? The complicated role of messaging apps in the fight against disinformation and for free speech

by Tess Kidney Bishop, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

Much of the debate around the spread of misinformation and online harassment has been focused on the biggest social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and, more recently, TikTok. Messaging apps, like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat, and the increasingly popular Telegram and Signal, have nearly as many users as these platforms and are also rife with disinformation, hate …

The class-blindness of human rights

by Dr. Andrew Fagan, Director, University of Essex, Human Rights Centre Blog, Blog, By invitation

If you are reading this piece, it’s unlikely that you are, or that you originate from, a working-class background. I say this not as a rebuke. Nor do I intend to question your commitment to social justice and human rights. As a class migrant myself, I am also not claiming that the human rights community doesn’t include people who still …

#TheTimeIsNow: Was HRC46 the moment that momentum behind UN recognition of the right to a healthy environment became unstoppable?

by Mariana Montoya and Camila Márquez Blog, Blog

The growing interest in, and movement towards, universal recognition of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment (R2E) reached a new crescendo at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council (Council). There was a sense that momentum behind UN recognition, built over decades, has brought the world to a ‘tipping point,’ where one last push …

Digital democratic cities and the future of human rights online

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

The title of the seventh edition of the Glion Human Rights Dialogue in late 2020, ‘ Making digital technology work for human rights ,’ was chosen deliberately. The organisers hoped that at the same time as considering the important threats to human rights posed by such technology, such as the emergence of ‘surveillance States’ and internet shutdowns, Glion VII would also – in a more positive sense …

Report on the 46th 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 46th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC46) was held from Monday 22nd February to Wednesday 24th March. As it is the main annual session of the Council, HRC46 began with a High-Level Segment (HLS). The 2021 HLS included speeches by 130 States and other dignitaries, including: H.E. Mr Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan, H.E. Mr …

US-China-Russia rivalry spills over into the Human Rights Council

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

Towards the end of last year, Bahrain’s ambassador in Geneva suddenly threw his hat into the ring for the presidency of the Human Rights Council – potentially blocking the previously unopposed candidacy of Fiji’s ambassador, Nazhat Shameem Khan. Then, earlier this month, Belarus and Cuba delivered two joint statements at the Council, attacking EU member States and the UK, and calling on …