Sisyphean endeavours and unfinished business: UN Secretary-General Guterres lays out his vision for a second term, including a conference on human rights and renewed focus on prevention

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 8 January 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres notified the General Assembly (GA) President Volkan Bozkir and Security Council President for January Tarek Ladeb of his intentions to run for re-election. On 23 March, Guterres sent his Vision Statement to Bozkir, and on 7 May, engaged in an informal dialogue with the GA. Given that Guterres will likely succeed in securing a second term, his …

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 …

#TheTimeIsNow: Was HRC46 the moment that momentum behind UN recognition of the right to a healthy environment became unstoppable?

by Mariana Montoya and Camila Márquez Blog, Blog

The growing interest in, and movement towards, universal recognition of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment (R2E) reached a new crescendo at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council (Council). There was a sense that momentum behind UN recognition, built over decades, has brought the world to a ‘tipping point,’ where one last push …

Report on the 46th session of the Human Rights Council

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

Quick summary The 46th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC46) was held from Monday 22nd February to Wednesday 24th March. As it is the main annual session of the Council, HRC46 began with a High-Level Segment (HLS). The 2021 HLS included speeches by 130 States and other dignitaries, including: H.E. Mr Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan, H.E. Mr …

#The time is now – The case for universal recognition of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment

by Professor John H. Knox, former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group and David R. Boyd - UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Policy reports, Reportes

#The time is now – The case for universal recognition of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment

This new policy report tells the story of international discussions on human rights and environment, human rights and climate change, and the push for the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment (R2E), describing the broad normative contours of such a right, and explaining the benefits, for humanity, the environment and the climate, that would accrue from universal recognition. …

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 …

The confirmation hearing for Biden’s choice for UN Ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, indicates a renewed US focus on multilateralism and human rights 

by Amanda Gu, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

As United States President Joe Biden has been officially inaugurated, all eyes are on his cabinet nominees, as they are key to carrying out the President’s agenda. His pick for US Ambassador to the UN is Linda Thomas Greenfield, a career diplomat with over three decades of experience, holding previous posts as the assistant secretary for the Bureau of African American Affairs as well as US ambassador to Liberia . Her Senate confirmation hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was held on 27 January 2020, covered …

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 …

Norway’s Supreme Court dismisses claim based on the right to a healthy environment and allows new oil exploration in the Arctic

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

On 22 December 2020, Norway’s Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the closely followed climate lawsuit based on the constitutional right to a healthy environment, known as the Norwegian Arctic Oil case . The appeal was brought to the Supreme Court by environmental groups that disputed an administrative decision, based on a 2013 legislation, which authorised the administration to grant licences to oil …

A list of opportunities for human rights under the next US administration

by Yoni Ish-Hurwitz, Executive Director, Human Rights Likeminded Office Blog, Blog, By invitation

Starting 20 January, when US President-elect Joe Biden takes office, so much can change for human rights at the United Nations. The US, which is the largest contributor to the UN budget by far, will have the power to move mountains if President-elect Biden delivers on his plan to restore US leadership on the global stage . His transition team has been preparing for months. He sees four crucial …