Decolonization — not western liberals —established human rights on the global agenda

by Steven L. B. Jensen, Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the URG team Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Human rights scholarship and advocacy claim to be grounded in universality, yet both are anything but in their privileging the Western role in building an international human rights system.  A paradox sits at the heart of the human rights movement. For decades it has made strong claims about the universality of human rights but then proceeded to present a discounted …

Human rights: the basic ingredients of international peace and crisis prevention

by Marghoob Saleem Butt, Executive Director of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the OIC and the URG team Blog, Blog, By invitation

Basic human rights are universal and integral to human existence and the human experience. They relate to both material concerns such as food, clothing and shelter, and non-material concerns such as dignity, respect and affection. Whether it is denial of economic rights, repression of religious and ethnic identity, or the socio-political exclusion of minority groups, a sustained denial of human …

The race to be Secretary-General: gender, regional balance and human rights

by Mariana Montoya and the URG team Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog

In January, a new UN Secretary-General will take over from Ban Ki-Moon. As described in URG’s recent policy brief: ‘ Candidates for the post of Secretary-General: where do they stand on human rights?’ the selection process for the new Office-holder has been the most open and transparent since the founding of the UN. Although the formal inter-governmental decision-making process has not changed (for example, the Security Council does not publish the results of …

The Council’s impact on the ground: a view from Jakarta

by Caka A. Awal* and the URG team Blog, Blog, By invitation, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms

5th September 2016, Jakarta  On 2nd August I landed back in Jakarta after three-and-a-half years with the Indonesian team at the Human Rights Council. As well as giving me time to readjust to life back home, the intervening weeks have given me time to reflect on the nature and extent of the ‘on the ground’ impact of my work at …

Mapping global business opinions on human rights

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

The UN Human Rights Council endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in 2011. Though an important milestone, the debate continues on the scope, content, and legal status of companies’ responsibility to respect human rights asserted in those Principles. To gain closer insights into this debate, between 2014 and 2015, the Universal Rights Group, together with partners including …

The World Bank: a human rights-free zone?

by Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and the URG team Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, By invitation

This article first appeared on openGlobalRights , and has been reproduced with their kind permission. The existing approach taken by the World Bank to human rights is incoherent, counterproductive and unsustainable. It is based on an out-dated legal analysis and shaped by deep misperceptions of what a human rights policy would require. In its operational policies in particular, the Bank treats human rights more …

How to push the implementation of human rights forward? A new strategy for a renewed commitment

by H.E. Didier Burkhalter, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland and the URG team Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Fostering respect for human rights is one of Switzerland’s foreign policy objectives, as provided for in our Federal Constitution. In Switzerland, promoting and protecting human rights is essential to direct democracy because it forms the basis for the freedom and security of every individual. At the international level, respect for human rights contributes to peace and global security, to the …

How to move forward with the implementation of resolution 16/18 and with global efforts to combat religious intolerance and discrimination

by Marghoob Saleem Butt, Executive Director of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the OIC and the URG team Blog, Blog, By invitation, In Focus: Human rights and religion

Incitement to religious hatred, discrimination and violence needs to be addressed by everyone, and at all levels. That is especially so when one considers the increasingly globalised and interconnected world in which we live — events on one side of the planet can have immediate and far-reaching consequences for people on the other side. News relating to religious discrimination or …

How the Global South shaped the international human rights system

by Steven L. B. Jensen, Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the URG team Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

2016 is a landmark year for the UN human rights system. Looking back, the UN is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the two International Human Rights Covenants, and the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Human Rights Council. Looking forward, the international community is beginning to wrestle with future challenges such as how to promote and protect the enjoyment …

Implementing Resolution 16/18: the role of Rabat and the importance of civil society space

by Andrew Smith, Legal Officer at ARTICLE 19 and the URG team Blog, Blog, By invitation, In Focus: Human rights and religion

The 31st session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) is a significant marker: not only will the HRC celebrate its 10th birthday, but the session will mark five years since the adoption of resolution 16/18 on “combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatisation of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief .” In the current geopolitical context, the consensus that underpins resolution 16/18 is increasingly precarious, despite being more important than ever. In March, the HRC will consider …