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 …

The Human Right Council in 2022: Vision, challenges and a call for action

by H.E. Federico Villegas, 16th President of the UN Human Rights Council, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Challenges for the coming year As Permanent Representative of Argentina, I am grateful and honoured for having been elected to preside over the Human Rights Council for 2022. 2021 was very challenging, but my predecessor, Ambassador Khan, guided us through the year and kept the Council functioning during an unprecedented pandemic. The year ahead will also present particular challenges for the Council, …

Environmental Justice, Climate Change and the Right to a Healthy Environment in the Biden Administration

by Professor Dan Magraw, President Emeritus of the Centre for International Environmental Law Blog, Blog, By invitation

28 April 2021 United States President Joe Biden has prioritized achieving environmental justice and combatting climate change, following up on campaign pledges. The Biden Administration’s focus on climate change is evident in early Executive Orders (EOs) [i] and in the April 22 Climate Summit that he convened. President Biden’s focus on environmental justice (EJ) is manifested in the same EOs. He …

The class-blindness of human rights

by Dr. Andrew Fagan, Director, University of Essex, Human Rights Centre Blog, Blog, By invitation

If you are reading this piece, it’s unlikely that you are, or that you originate from, a working-class background. I say this not as a rebuke. Nor do I intend to question your commitment to social justice and human rights. As a class migrant myself, I am also not claiming that the human rights community doesn’t include people who still …

Human Rights: New challenges – firm commitments and beliefs

by Ambassador Walter STEVENS, Permanent Observer, EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva Uncategorized @nyc

A year ago, at a Human Rights Day event in Geneva, I met two very impressive sisters, Amy and Ella Meek, 14 and 16 years old respectively. These two young climate activists go to the barricades against plastic pollution. I also met Memory Banda, a young campaigner against child marriage from Malawi and Hamangai Pataxo, an indigenous rights defender from …

Re-imagining human rights for New Zealand

by Paul Hunt, University of Essex (UK); University of Waikato (New Zealand) Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, In focus: democracy

This article was first published in the Dominion Post on October 16 and re-published on the Human Rights Centre Blog of the University of Essex on 26 October 2020 There’s a global pushback against human rights. Around the world, authoritarian “strongmen” are behaving like Roman Emperors. Supported by their disaffected ‘base’, they peddle racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance. …

What the ‘US Commission on Unalienable Rights’ gets wrong about the UN

by Ryan Kaminski, Security Fellow, Truman National Security Project Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Universal Rights Group NYC

On July 16, the US State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights, tasked with providing ‘advice on human rights grounded in [U.S.] founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,’ released its draft report . Policy, legal, and rights experts have since opined on the Commission’s problematic conceptual approach.  The report’s conclusions on the UN human rights system should …

The Human Rights Council in 2020 – Views of the 14th President of the Human Rights Council H.E. Ms. Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger

by H.E. Elisabeth TICHY-FISSLBERGER, President of the UN Human Rights Council Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Geneva, 20 February 2020 It is a very special honour for me to preside over the Human Rights Council during this year, and I am fully aware of the responsibility I have assumed from my predecessor. The Human Rights Council is unique in many ways. Unlike many other UN bodies, the Council provides a place where States and civil society …

The UN Human Development Report must go farther on inequality

by Steven L. B. Jensen, Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Blog, Blog, By invitation

This post first appeared on OpenGlobalRights . In December, UNDP launched the  Human Development Report 2019 . It was announced in advance that the new report would reconceptualize human development around the concept of inequality. This framing offers a more holistic take on existing injustices around the world. The report combines income and wealth inequalities with those more traditionally associated with human development such as health …

The independence of the international civil service, 1919-2019: Minority rights at the League of Nations and human rights at the United Nations

by John Burley, Formerly UNDP; Office of the Director-General; UNCTAD between 1972-2004. Blog, By invitation

Part one Almost exactly a hundred years ago today, the Paris Peace Conference adopted the Covenant of the League of Nations and appointed the British diplomat Eric Drummond as the first Secretary-General. The choice was fortuitous. In this article, which will be split into two parts, I will seek to explain how Drummond built the first-ever independent international civil service, …