Report on the 75th session of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly

by URG-NYC Team Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, New York City, Universal Rights Group NYC

Quick summary During the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the Third Committee, tasked with addressing human rights issues and concerns, ran from 5 October – 20 November at UN Headquarters in New York, and online (due to the COVID-19 pandemic). This year’s Third Committee featured presentations by a number of senior UN officials, including Ms. Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human …

The pandemic, prevention and politics: the High Commissioner and HRC President highlight cross-cutting human rights work at the Third Committee

by Tess Kidney Bishop, Universal Rights Group NYC Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, New York City, Universal Rights Group NYC

As part of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, both the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the President of the Human Rights Council gave statements to the Third Committee. Statements, and the interactive dialogues with member States that followed, were conducted virtually and not without the occasional technological hiccup. Nevertheless, a higher number of states participated than …

The dangers of Trump’s attacks on American democracy – and the need to reinvigorate that democracy based on rights

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy, Universal Rights Group NYC

On the night of the US Presidential election, as predicted, no winner could be called, with millions of ballots yet to be counted in key battleground states. An impatient President Donald Trump began tweeting that he had won and that his win was being taken from him. As the days crawled by, and more and more votes were counted and …

At 75 years old, global survey indicates that the UN has plenty of room for growth on the human rights agenda

by Tess Kidney Bishop, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

This year, the United Nations turns 75. Secretary-General António Gutteres has made clear that the anniversary should not simply be about celebrating the UN’s successes but a ‘global reality check’ focused on listening to the public. So, it is being marked with a global consultation on international cooperation and the priorities of the world’s citizens, as well as a series …

‘Even if they contain misinformation…’: how government inaction and interference on social media could mean the hijacking of an election

by Jenna Lanoil, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

‘I know that I have blood on my hands,’ Sophie Zhang, a former Facebook data scientist wrote in a memo about her time with Facebook. Zhang claims that Facebook allowed for heads of state and political parties from around the world to misrepresent themselves through fake accounts and to spread disinformation. She cites in particular an operation by the Azerbaijanian Government …

What are the world’s human rights priorities in 2020, and what to look out for in 2021?

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

Human rights analysis of high-level speeches during the general debate of the UN General Assembly Each fall, world leaders descend upon New York to speak at the general debate of the UN General Assembly (GA). This year, because of the COVID-19  pandemic , world leaders were invited to send in pre-recorded videos of their speeches which were broadcast ‘as live.’ The …

Using digital technology to systematically violate the right to vote: How the Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign used AI to suppress the votes of Black Americans

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

29th September 2020 On 28 September, the UK’s Channel 4 News revealed that it had obtained a data cache used by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, which contained evidence that the campaign had sought to digital technology to deter 3.5 million Black Americans by targeting them with tailored, negative ads. While digital tools and social media platforms can in principle strengthen …

The Tik(Tok)ing of privacy rights in the digital era: the need for an international framework to protect data privacy

by Siri Swayampu, former URG NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

Research estimates that over half of the world’s population is online every day and over 90% of the population aged 6 and older will be online by 2030. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic saw a sustained surge in online activity across the world. Beginning as a breakthrough in communications, the internet phenomenon has since transformed into a revolution that is embedded in every …

For 18% of Americans social media is their main source of news – what does this mean for the presidential elections?

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 30 July, the Pew Research Center released a report that revealed that one in five Americans use social media for their primary source of news. This report comes at a time of both an intense news cycle, dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic and a fast approaching US presidential election, and when social media usage is at an all-time high . It …

US presidential candidates set out markedly different positions on human rights, the Human Rights Council and the UN

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Universal Rights Group NYC

With a Presidential election less than 100 days away, over 150,000 American deaths from COVID-19, and a GDP freefall comparable to the Great Depression, the focus of the American voter is very much on domestic, rather than foreign, policy. Yet, a recent draft State Department report contains worrying implications about the human rights foreign (and domestic) policy of a second term Donald …