The UK’s new targeted sanctions regime ‘a powerful new tool with which to uphold and protect human rights’

by H.E. Rita French, International Ambassador for Human Rights of the United Kingdom Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 6 July, the UK launched a new ‘Magnitsky-style’ Global Human Rights (GHR) Sanctions Regime. The regime will be a powerful new tool to hold those involved in serious human rights violations and abuses to account. This marks the beginning of a new era for sanctions policy and will change the paradigm in which the UK engages on human rights. …

France’s watered-down anti-hate speech law enters into force

by the URG team Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, In focus: democracy, In Focus: Human rights and religion

On 1 July a new French law entered into force that aims to regulate online hate speech. Known as the ‘Avia law’ after Laetitia Avia, the parliamentarian who drafted the original bill, the final law was significantly watered down during its passage through the lower house of parliament and the Senate, following opposition from free speech activists. Then, in an …

‘The stakes couldn’t be higher’: social media, disinformation, and the survival of democracy

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 11 June United States Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden posted the following tweet : He accused Facebook of failing to enact any real reforms to combat disinformation on its platform, with his campaign releasing an open letter for people to sign emphasising the role that disinformation – spread on Facebook – could have on the coming 2020 presidential election …

Human Rights and COVID-19: ‘Build Back Better’

by Steven L. B. Jensen Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

We are living in times that call for leadership of the responsible and visionary kind. Such leadership is visible in a number of states and the citizens living there are in a better situation because of it. We are also witnessing distinct examples of the opposite. Here, we see that populations are suffering much more than necessary as political leaders …

Business and human rights: ‘building back better’ from COVID-19

by Cathy Sun, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

As the ongoing COVID-19 crisis lays bare deep socioeconomic divisions that plague even some of the wealthiest States around the world, the crucial role that businesses have in ensuring the enjoyment of human rights by all is brought into ever stronger focus. While governments have struggled with the balancing act of enacting restrictive emergency measures to contain the spread of …

What do the US protests and the UK’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic tell us about inequality, discrimination and social rights in the ‘Anglosphere’?

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

Violence erupts across more than 75 US cities on a sixth night of protests sparked by the death in police custody of African American George Floyd. In London, the UK Government delays the release of an official review of the impacts of COVID-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Britons. At the end of April one of the UN’s …

Is COVID-19 proving to be the ‘Achilles’ heel’ of the world’s populist leaders?

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

The rise of populist leaders around the world, with their particularly Orwellian brand of post-truth politics, has been one of the defining geopolitical trends of the past five years. From Trump to Orban, Bolsonaro to Johnson, and Erdogan to Modi, these politicians have seemed to carry all before them. Yet perhaps they have finally met their match in COVID-19? Although …

Is COVID-19 forcing America to reconsider its views on ‘fake news’ and freedom of expression?

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

Back in February, during a preparatory meeting of the 2020 Glion Human Rights Dialogue at the Permanent Mission of Mexico , one of the most contentious discussion points was how – and indeed whether – States should manage the growing problem of ‘fake news,’ especially online. During the dialogue, a diplomat from South-East Asia presented her government’s pioneering efforts to address ‘fake news’ where it threatens public safety …

The COVID-19 pandemic: Five urgent principles for leaving no one behind through technology

by Lorna McGregor and Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The UN Secretary General has characterised the pandemic as a ‘public health emergency … an economic crisis. A social crisis. And a human crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis’. Other UN agencies predict global mass unemployment and severe food insecurity . If urgent action is not taken, existing structural inequalities will expand and entrench and threaten the protection of human rights and the …

The UN Secretary-General calls for countering a ‘tsunami of hate’ in the wake of COVID-19

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On May 8 the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres launched a global Appeal to Address and Counter COVID-19 Hate Speech . A few days later, the UN published a Guidance Note on Addressing and Countering COVID-19 related Hate Speech . Both of these follow (and can build upon) steps taken by the UN in response to COVID-19, as well as the 2019 UN Plan of Action on Hate Speech . The SG’s appeal also comes amid an increased awareness of how hate speech and discrimination …