#TheTimeIsNow – UN recognition of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment: Past developments and future prospects

by Abigail WEISS, URG Fellow Blog, Blog

Last week, the URG, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, Dr. David Boyd, in partnership with New York University, held an expert seminar to look ahead towards the possible UN General Assembly recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment (R2HE). Over the course of the …

What are the human rights priorities of world governments in 2022?

by the URG team Blog, Blog, 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 49th session of the Human Rights Council , held from February 28 to March 3 2022, saw the active participation of more than 120 world leaders, including six heads or deputy heads of State, five heads or deputy heads of Government, and 107 ministers or vice-ministers. In the statements delivered …

Climate change, a threat to international peace and security?

by Joseph Burke, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 13 December 2021, the UN Security Council (UNSC) once again missed the opportunity to assert its leadership in the field of climate security and anchor its ability to more effectively and comprehensively address the global threat posed by climate change. After months of tense negotiations, a draft resolution (first circulated on 23 September by Ireland and Niger), which would have defined …

All eyes turn to the European Court of Human Rights to assess future of rights-based climate litigation

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group and Sarah Vigne, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog

On 16 December 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) communicated to the government of Norway its request for observations on the application filed on 15 June 2021 by six young climate activists, together with Greenpeace Nordic and Young Friends of the Earth Norway, alleging that continued oil exploration by the Norwegian State is in breach of their fundamental human …

Human Rights Day: From recognition to action on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

by Dr Justin Pettit, Human Rights Adviser, Commonwealth Secretariat and Dr Shavana Haythornthwaite, Head, Human Rights Unit, Commonwealth Secretariat Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

This blog was first published on the Commonwealth website The critical state of the environment, the acceleration of climate change, the serious impacts of pollution and the increasing loss of biodiversity are undeniable. They jeopardise food security, weaken public health, exacerbate conflict and displacement, deepen inequalities, undermine development, threaten achievement of the SDGs, and impede economic growth – all whilst …

Cop 26 and Beyond: A Human Rights-Based Response to Climate Change and Scotland’s Contribution

by Professor Alan Miller, Professor of Practice in Human Rights Law at the University of Strathclyde Blog, Blog, By invitation

Introduction The science and living experience of climate change is no longer for debate. Its current and future impact upon our lives, livelihoods and ways of life represent the greatest 21st Century threat to the enjoyment of human rights. The UN Secretary-General is right to state we are at “Code Red” for humanity. There is hope and it needs COP 26 to …

Report on the 48th 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 48th regular session of the Human Rights Council ( HRC48 ) was held from Monday 13 September to Monday 11 October 2021. On 13 September, H.E. Michelle Bachelet presented her global update on the human rights situation around the world, followed by her report on Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and oral updates on Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Sri Lanka. An enhanced …

What are the world’s human rights priorities in 2021, and priorities to look out for in 2022?

by the URG team and Courtney Halverson, URG NYC Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog

Human rights analysis of high-level speeches during the general debate of the UN General Assembly In the pre-pandemic world, each fall world leaders would descend upon New York City to speak at the General Debate of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Last year, this tradition was disrupted (as so many others) by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of migrating to Turtle …

No more procrastination on climate change, says German Constitutional Court in landmark decision

by Anna-Christina Schmidl, Universal Rights Group Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 24 March 2021, the First Senate of the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) rendered its long-awaited decision on four constitutional complaints [1] brought in relation to Germany’s Federal Climate Change Act (Bundes-Klimaschutzgesetz) of 2019. The plaintiffs – some of whom are young climate activists – had alleged, in part , that the Act violates the fundamental rights of future generations by failing to prescribe in sufficient detail a long-term pathway for …

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 …