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 …

2016: a year for celebration, but also reflection

by H.E. Ambassador Choi Kyong-lim, 10th President of the Human Rights Council and the URG team Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

2016 has begun, as all New Years should, with hope and optimism – and a common resolve to build a safer and better world for ourselves and our children. Regrettably though, if we look at the facts on the ground, little seems to have changed since last year, when the human exodus from Syria, terrorist attacks in major world cities, …

Strengthening compliance, improving coherence: Norway’s White Paper on human rights

by Geir Sjøberg, Policy Director - Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway and the URG team By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

In April last year, the Norwegian Storting (parliament) endorsed a Government White Paper on human rights. The document, entitled, ‘Opportunities for All: Human Rights in Norway’s Foreign Policy and Development Cooperation’ is the country’s first human rights White Paper for fifteen years. The White Paper (which can be read here ) is a part of a renewed national effort to protect …

Economic, social and cultural rights: exploding myths and building consensus

by Lucy McKernan, Geneva Representative of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the URG team Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Beyond matters touching upon religion or belief, or on so-called ‘traditional values,’ it is difficult to think of an issue that divides members of the Human Rights Council (the Council) as much as the perceived disconnect between the importance placed on civil and political rights on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs) on the other. Twenty …

Connecting the pillars: Human Rights and the post-2015 agenda

by Naiara Costa and the URG team Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

If you follow the work of the United Nations (UN) you may have already discovered that 2015 seems to be the year for the ‘development’ pillar of the organisation. Three main agreements are expected to be adopted until the end of the year and the complexity of the negotiations are increased by the interconnectedness amongst them. The first agreement is …

Islam, human rights and universality

by Prof. Dr. Mouez Khalfaoui and the URG team Blog, Blog, By invitation, In Focus: Human rights and religion

Ever since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights came into effect in 1948, the relationship between human rights and Islam has constituted a topic of heated debate. As of today, politicians, NGO workers, academics and journalists continue to discuss the compatibility of human rights and Islamic legal systems, traditions, and cultures. Geographically speaking, these debates encompass both Muslim countries as …

A Geneva Spring? Why civil society needs North-South solidarity

by Louise Arbour and the URG team Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

In the last decade, the international human rights framework has become addicted to norm-setting, devoting far too much effort to refining norms, tools and protocols, and not enough to their actual implementation. There have certainly been some important new normative initiatives, such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. But now the challenge is that the international …

A way forward for the 16/18 process

by Caka A. Awal* Blog, Blog, By invitation, In Focus: Human rights and religion

A policy report of Universal Rights Group (URG) on ‘ Combatting Global Religious Intolerance: the Implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 ’ has rightly pointed out the complexities of the issues surrounding freedom of religion or belief and the fight against global religious intolerance. The report provides useful historical insights about the UN’s journey to confront and combat racial and religious intolerance. It is interesting to note that on 25th November 1981 …

Syria calls for greater UN intervention in domestic human rights situations…

by Professor Susan Waltz Blog, Blog, By invitation

…or at least, it did. In the early 1950s, as diplomats in New York sat down to negotiate what would become the two international human rights covenants, Syria’s delegation to the General Assembly’s Third Committee was in the vanguard of efforts to arm the UN’s human rights machinery with stronger implementation mechanisms to ‘pierce the veil of national sovereignty’* that …

Failing To Protect: Systemic weaknesses within the UN human rights machinery

by Dr. Rosa Freedman Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

On 20th March 2014 the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) attempted to hold a minute of silence in the UN Human Rights Council’s chamber in memory of Cao Shunli. Ms Cao was arrested on 14th September 2013 as she attempted to board a flight to Geneva. A human rights defender in China, Ms Cao was en route to the …