2nd April 2013, Geneva
The Universal Rights Group (URG), a new policy think tank dedicated to international human rights, began work on 2nd April 2013 after moving into its new offices in Versoix, Switzerland.
The past decade has seen enormous change both in terms of the centrality of human rights within the United Nations (UN) and in terms of the evolution of the international human rights system. Key to this change has been the elevation, by the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, of human rights to be one of the three pillars of the UN’s work (alongside development and security), and the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council in 2006.
These fundamental shifts have had significant repercussions throughout the human rights system. Today the demands placed on that system by States, NGOs, victims and others, are greater than ever before, and with higher demand comes an even greater responsibility and expectation to deliver.
URG has been created by a group of former diplomats at the Human Rights Council, members of the human rights NGO community and other human rights experts. It is to make sense of the many changes taking place, to undertake precise and clear-headed policy analysis and to use that analysis as a base from which to secure improvements in the international human rights system.
URG aims to act at the interface of policy-making and expert knowledge, to bring all stakeholders together in order to understand common challenges and identify solutions.
URG is now working to finalise the composition of its Board of Trustees and Advisory Committee, to hire additional staff and to finalise its strategy and programme of work.
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