Facebook vs. Australia–the latest dispute over the digital space

by Amanda Gu, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 18 February, after three years of negotiations over the Australian Media Bargaining Code, Facebook took the controversial decision of implementing a broad ban on all Australian publishers and prevented people in Australia from viewing or posting links to news stories . The ban lasted five days, and was only lifted after the Australian government made concessions. This ongoing disagreement between Facebook and the Australian government is only the latest in …

Is returning to pre-COVID-19 levels of ‘equality’ enough?

by Zaineb Ali, Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Oxfam recently published a new report, ‘ The Inequality Virus ’, which offers startling new data on the state of inequality around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It demonstrates that COVID-19 has the potential to increase inequalities in almost every country at once – the first time this has happened since records began over a century ago. The virus …

On it’s one-year anniversary, the Call to Action for Human Rights remains a relevant tool for tackling human rights challenges

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

The anniversary of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ The Highest Aspiration: A Call to Action for Human Rights provides a prime opportunity to reflect on its implementation to date. Launched on 24 February 2020 at the opening of the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council, the Call aimed to bring the human rights pillar of the United Nations’ mandate to the forefront of its agenda. As the challenges of 2020 have …

Biden’s decision to rescind the Global Gag Rule could have implications for the US approach to sexual health and reproductive rights at the UN

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

President Biden repealed the Global Gag Rule, which he described as his ‘predecessor’s attack on women’s health access’, via Executive Order on 28 January. This move comes as part of the administration’s plan to protect the rights of women both domestically and abroad. The decision serves as a key indicator for how the US may re-emerge on the world stage as …

The French ‘case of the century’ ushers in new era of environmental litigation

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

On 3 February 2021, in a historic decision that confirms the growing trend of civil society led public interest litigation founded on the right to a healthy environment, a French administrative court recognised that the French State could be held responsible for failing to meet its commitments to mitigate climate change. In an unparalleled outpouring of public support for the plaintiffs …

Inequitable access to Covid-19 vaccines threatens the human rights of millions and must be addressed

by Tess Kidney Bishop, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

Covid-19 has shone a stark light onto inequalities between countries. So far, high-income countries have recorded the most cases and deaths, but the economic impact of Covid-19 has been disproportionately harmful to lower-income countries, where governments and citizens have fewer resources to weather the storm. Despite their declarations against ‘vaccine nationalism’, richer countries have paid to get to the front …

The Escazú Agreement: A landmark regional treaty for environmental defenders

by Zaineb Ali, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The international community eagerly awaits the Escazú Agreement to come into force in early 2021 after having secured 12 ratifications (one more than the minimum required – 11). The Escazú Agreement , which emerged from the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), is the first legally binding instrument in the world to include provisions on environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) …

New corporate ‘Treaty Body’ gears up to consider Facebook’s decision to bar Donald Trump

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

As reported in the New York Times , its members include two people who were reportedly on presidential shortlists for the US Supreme Court, a Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize laureate, a British Pulitzer Prize winner, a former UN Special Rapporteur, Colombia’s leading human rights lawyer, and a former prime minister of Denmark. Welcome to the Facebook Oversight Board, operational since October 2020 (Mark …

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 …