Time for the Human Rights Council to strengthen its focus on democracy and free and fair elections

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy

16 November 2020, Geneva US diplomats are said to be horrified by the refusal of President Donald Trump, and senior Republicans from inside and outside the administration, to recognise the results of the 3 November 2020 presidential elections, their refusal to sign off on – for the moment – a smooth transition, and, more broadly, their efforts to sow doubts about …

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 …

The impact of the 2020 US presidential elections on human rights and international institutions

by Melissa Hooper, Sophia Swanson, Anna van Niekerk, Human Rights First Blog, Blog, By invitation, New York City

The United States has always had a somewhat contentious relationship with the international human rights project. It has never ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (which today has over 150 states parties) or the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (which has 185). It became the sole holdout on the Convention …

Reinvesting in rights: Why the next US administration must prioritize multilateralism to protect human rights

by Grace Anderson, Stanford University Ford Fellow in Philanthropy Blog, Blog, By invitation, New York City

October 21, 2020 Over the past four years, the Trump Administration has slowly abdicated its role as a leader in multilateralism and as one of the top promoters of human rights at the UN specifically. At this year’s UN General Assembly (UNGA), President Donald Trump touted a narrow view of human rights, citing priorities of “religious liberty, opportunity for women, the …

‘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 …

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 …

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 …