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 …

Raising the fight against corruption to the top of the international agenda: A proposal for a new Optional Protocol to the ICESCR

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

The collapse of democracy is Afghanistan, after 20 years and billions of dollars of international engagement; the collapse of democracy in Myanmar following February’s coup d’état and ouster of Aung San Suu Kyi; the collapse of democracy in Sudan following October’s coup d’état and the detention of the civilian government. What do each of these salutary tales of democratic roll-back …

President Biden commits to protecting the right to vote and revitalising American democracy

by Daniela Kyle, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 13 June, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, President Joe Biden delivered a fiery speech on the importance of protecting voting rights in America. The president emphasised the need for free and fair elections in order to uphold American core values as well as to strengthen democracy domestically and abroad. The speech was directed both at the American people …

Trump, Facebook, democracy and rights: ‘how to handle free speech in an age of information chaos’

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

Writing in the Guardian on 5 May, Alan Rusbridger, a former newspaper editor and now member of the Facebook Oversight Board, set out in stark terms the dilemma facing the Board as it reviewed the social media giant’s decision, last January, to ban then President Donald Trump from its platform. ‘On 6 January, he was the president of the United States: probably …

More restrictive demonstration and protest laws risk eroding fundamental democratic values

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy, Universal Rights Group NYC

Republican lawmakers in the United States have recently introduced new legislation at the state level regarding protests and demonstrations. The bills collectively place greater restrictions on individual protest rights and increase the penalties for those charged under such provisions. The majority of laws are currently pending, but send a dangerous message even if they do not pass. This movement indicates …

Digital democratic cities and the future of human rights online

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

The title of the seventh edition of the Glion Human Rights Dialogue in late 2020, ‘ Making digital technology work for human rights ,’ was chosen deliberately. The organisers hoped that at the same time as considering the important threats to human rights posed by such technology, such as the emergence of ‘surveillance States’ and internet shutdowns, Glion VII would also – in a more positive sense …

What do UK violations of its human rights and other international obligations mean for British democracy?

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

In theory, democracy is exceptionally resilient. It is buttressed by the different rights set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – ICCPR (e.g. freedom of expression, freedom of opinion, protection of minorities, the right to vote and to stand for office, habeas corpus, access to justice, and the independence of the judiciary) and the International Covenant …

What are the human rights priorities of world governments in 2021?

by the URG team Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, URG Human Rights Council Reports

An independent analysis of the High-Level Segment of the Human Rights Council The High-Level Segment of the 46th session of the Human Rights Council , held from February 22 to 24 2021, saw the active participation of more than 130 world leaders, including presidents, prime ministers, ministers, and heads of international organisations. In the statements they delivered to the Council, they addressed both domestic human rights concerns, …

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 …

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 …