The state of democracy in Europe 2021: Overcoming the impact of the pandemic

by Nana Kalandadze, Programme Manager, Regional Europe Programme, International IDEA and Alexander Hudson, Democracy Assessment Specialist, International IDEA Blog, Blog, By invitation, In focus: democracy

Are European democracies in peril? How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected them? And is the prevailing sense of crisis justified? ‘The Global State of Democracy,’ International IDEA’s biennial report last released in November 2021, is a health-check of democracies across the globe (including a chapter on Europe), designed to provide both a current snapshot of vital democratic attributes, an analysis …

The Human Right Council in 2022: Vision, challenges and a call for action

by H.E. Federico Villegas, 16th President of the UN Human Rights Council, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Challenges for the coming year As Permanent Representative of Argentina, I am grateful and honoured for having been elected to preside over the Human Rights Council for 2022. 2021 was very challenging, but my predecessor, Ambassador Khan, guided us through the year and kept the Council functioning during an unprecedented pandemic. The year ahead will also present particular challenges for the Council, …

Human Rights Day: From recognition to action on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

by Dr Justin Pettit, Human Rights Adviser, Commonwealth Secretariat and Dr Shavana Haythornthwaite, Head, Human Rights Unit, Commonwealth Secretariat Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

This blog was first published on the Commonwealth website The critical state of the environment, the acceleration of climate change, the serious impacts of pollution and the increasing loss of biodiversity are undeniable. They jeopardise food security, weaken public health, exacerbate conflict and displacement, deepen inequalities, undermine development, threaten achievement of the SDGs, and impede economic growth – all whilst …

Human Rights Day 2021: protect the right to be as well as the right to become

by Dr Bertrand G. Ramcharan Blog, Blog, By invitation

Today, 10 December, is Human Rights Day. It was on this day in 1948 that the UN proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. What the Universal Declaration sought to do, seventy-three years ago, was to invite all governments to pursue human rights strategies of governance. That is …

Cop 26 and Beyond: A Human Rights-Based Response to Climate Change and Scotland’s Contribution

by Professor Alan Miller, Professor of Practice in Human Rights Law at the University of Strathclyde Blog, Blog, By invitation

Introduction The science and living experience of climate change is no longer for debate. Its current and future impact upon our lives, livelihoods and ways of life represent the greatest 21st Century threat to the enjoyment of human rights. The UN Secretary-General is right to state we are at “Code Red” for humanity. There is hope and it needs COP 26 to …

From apartheid South Africa to the Euro 2020 football championship: how sport and human rights make for natural teammates

by Mathis Limon Blog, Blog, By invitation

Competitive sports and the athletes who compete in them, can have an enormously positive impact on the enjoyment of human rights. The global reach and popularity of sports such as football, rugby, cricket, basketball, golf, athletics, and Formula 1, mean they can be used as a vehicle to either promote human rights (e.g., soccer training camps for disadvantaged children), or …

Governmental human rights focal points: governments and national administrations as drivers of human rights implementation?

by Stéphanie Lagoutte, Senior researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights and Sébastien Lorion, Senior adviser at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Blog, Blog, By invitation, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms

Human rights ministries, inter-ministerial delegations or committees, whether with a thematic or comprehensive human rights mandate, have become important domestic actors dedicated to driving human rights implementation and progress. These human rights focal points have emerged in State practice and, more recently, have been recognised in international law and guidance, as recommended drivers of implementation. At the same time, governments …

Scotland shows human rights leadership to “build back better”

by Professor Alan Miller, Professor of Practice in Human Rights Law at the University of Strathclyde Blog, Blog, By invitation, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms, Uncategorized @nyc

The UN is calling on all countries to “build back better” from Covid 19 through placing economic, social and environmental rights and equality at the centre of all recovery efforts In Scotland a National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership has published a Report containing 30 recommendations to do just that. The Scottish Government has accepted all of the recommendations and is …

Environmental Justice, Climate Change and the Right to a Healthy Environment in the Biden Administration

by Professor Dan Magraw, President Emeritus of the Centre for International Environmental Law Blog, Blog, By invitation

28 April 2021 United States President Joe Biden has prioritized achieving environmental justice and combatting climate change, following up on campaign pledges. The Biden Administration’s focus on climate change is evident in early Executive Orders (EOs) [i] and in the April 22 Climate Summit that he convened. President Biden’s focus on environmental justice (EJ) is manifested in the same EOs. He …

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 …