Coup d’état in Myanmar underlines critical importance of the Secretary-General’s prevention agenda – and the continued failure of the UN to deliver on it

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

The devastating news that Myanmar’s military has again seized power through a coup d’état, after detaining civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior members of her governing party, represents the culmination of a five-year cycle of failure on the part of the UN – a failure to put human rights ‘up front’ in its dealings with governments, and …

Incitement and insurrection in the US underscore need for universal norms on hate speech and disinformation in the digital age

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

The attack on the United States Capitol on 6 January was live streamed on every major internet platform , an act of violence recorded and organised online. Digital technology companies quickly suspended related accounts, adding to a global debate on the parameters of freedom of expression in the digital realm. Given the gravity of the situation — the fact that social media was used in the attempted …

Brazilian indigenous leaders urge the International Criminal Court to investigate President Jair Bolsonaro over destruction of the Amazon

by Mariana Montoya, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Brazilian indigenous leaders have requested the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to investigate [i] President Jair Bolsonaro for ‘crimes against humanity’, accusing him of unprecedented environmental damage, killings, and persecution. Chief Raoni Metuktire, the leader of the Kayapo people, and Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui, leader of the Paiter Surui tribe, filed the claim at the Hague-based body on 22 …

Safeguarding human rights in places of detention: The role of National Preventive Mechanisms during COVID-19

by Marie Porchet, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of millions of individuals around the world. As national and supranational authorities have attempted to confront uncertainties raised by the crisis, people have seen their liberties restricted through measures such as social distancing, lockdowns, and bans on various activities. This situation has been especially worrisome for certain vulnerable groups, notably persons deprived of …

Norway’s Supreme Court dismisses claim based on the right to a healthy environment and allows new oil exploration in the Arctic

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

On 22 December 2020, Norway’s Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the closely followed climate lawsuit based on the constitutional right to a healthy environment, known as the Norwegian Arctic Oil case . The appeal was brought to the Supreme Court by environmental groups that disputed an administrative decision, based on a 2013 legislation, which authorised the administration to grant licences to oil …

A list of opportunities for human rights under the next US administration

by Yoni Ish-Hurwitz, Executive Director, Human Rights Likeminded Office Blog, Blog, By invitation

Starting 20 January, when US President-elect Joe Biden takes office, so much can change for human rights at the United Nations. The US, which is the largest contributor to the UN budget by far, will have the power to move mountains if President-elect Biden delivers on his plan to restore US leadership on the global stage . His transition team has been preparing for months. He sees four crucial …

Human Rights Council vote to elect new President sets a positive precedent

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

There have been suggestions in press coverage about the selection of the 2021 President of the Human Rights Council that the inability of members of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) to settle on a single consensus candidate, and to instead pass the decision to the full Council for vote by secret ballot, was in some way a bad thing – that it was …

Argentina passes landmark law to legalise abortion: A step forward to realising women’s sexual and reproductive rights in Latin America

by Renata Politi, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog

In the last days of 2020, Latin America and the international community at large witnessed a historic moment for women’s rights as Argentina passed a landmark law to decriminalise abortion. With 38 votes in favour, 29 against, and one abstention, the Senate approved a law that made Argentina the largest Latin American country to legalise abortion. Previously, the procedure was only permitted …

41st Session of the Human Rights Council.

A new year’s resolution: placing the Human Rights Council at the vanguard of the global democratic fight-back

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

It is now over thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and excited talk about the ‘end of history’ [i] – the idea that with the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991) and the ascendancy of Western liberal democracy, humanity had reached ‘not just […] the passing of a particular period of …

Garbage in, garbage out: is AI discriminatory or simply a mirror of IRL inequalities?

by Aurore Lentz, Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

When considering the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), it is useful to remember Tay, an infamous Twitter chatbot launched by Microsoft in March 2016. Tay was an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot intended to ‘learn’ by reading tweets and interacting with other Twitter users. ‘The more you talk, the smarter Tay gets!,’ its description read. It only took a few hours …