Report on the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council

by the URG team Blog, Blog, URG Human Rights Council Reports

The 43rd regular session of the Human Rights Council ( HRC43 ) was held in two segments, as the session had to be suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first segment took place from Monday 24 February until Friday 13 March. The 43rd session resumed on Monday 15 June and ended on Tuesday 23 June 2020. As it is the …

Human Rights and COVID-19: ‘Build Back Better’

by Steven L. B. Jensen Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

We are living in times that call for leadership of the responsible and visionary kind. Such leadership is visible in a number of states and the citizens living there are in a better situation because of it. We are also witnessing distinct examples of the opposite. Here, we see that populations are suffering much more than necessary as political leaders …

Business and human rights: ‘building back better’ from COVID-19

by Cathy Sun, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

As the ongoing COVID-19 crisis lays bare deep socioeconomic divisions that plague even some of the wealthiest States around the world, the crucial role that businesses have in ensuring the enjoyment of human rights by all is brought into ever stronger focus. While governments have struggled with the balancing act of enacting restrictive emergency measures to contain the spread of …

What do the US protests and the UK’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic tell us about inequality, discrimination and social rights in the ‘Anglosphere’?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Violence erupts across more than 75 US cities on a sixth night of protests sparked by the death in police custody of African American George Floyd. In London, the UK Government delays the release of an official review of the impacts of COVID-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Britons. At the end of April one of the UN’s …

Is COVID-19 proving to be the ‘Achilles’ heel’ of the world’s populist leaders?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The rise of populist leaders around the world, with their particularly Orwellian brand of post-truth politics, has been one of the defining geopolitical trends of the past five years. From Trump to Orban, Bolsonaro to Johnson, and Erdogan to Modi, these politicians have seemed to carry all before them. Yet perhaps they have finally met their match in COVID-19? Although …

Protecting the rights of older persons during the COVID-19 pandemic

by Alfonso Barragues, Deputy Director, UNFPA Liaison Office in Geneva Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, By invitation

As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has pointed out, the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most dangerous challenges the world has faced in our lifetime. It is a human crisis with severe health and economic consequences. That is particularly the case for older persons who face a higher mortality risk, with those over 80 years old dying at five times …

Is COVID-19 forcing America to reconsider its views on ‘fake news’ and freedom of expression?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Back in February, during a preparatory meeting of the 2020 Glion Human Rights Dialogue at the Permanent Mission of Mexico , one of the most contentious discussion points was how – and indeed whether – States should manage the growing problem of ‘fake news,’ especially online. During the dialogue, a diplomat from South-East Asia presented her government’s pioneering efforts to address ‘fake news’ where it threatens public safety …

The COVID-19 pandemic: Five urgent principles for leaving no one behind through technology

by Lorna McGregor and Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The UN Secretary General has characterised the pandemic as a ‘public health emergency … an economic crisis. A social crisis. And a human crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis’. Other UN agencies predict global mass unemployment and severe food insecurity . If urgent action is not taken, existing structural inequalities will expand and entrench and threaten the protection of human rights and the …

The UN Secretary-General calls for countering a ‘tsunami of hate’ in the wake of COVID-19

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On May 8 the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres launched a global Appeal to Address and Counter COVID-19 Hate Speech . A few days later, the UN published a Guidance Note on Addressing and Countering COVID-19 related Hate Speech . Both of these follow (and can build upon) steps taken by the UN in response to COVID-19, as well as the 2019 UN Plan of Action on Hate Speech . The SG’s appeal also comes amid an increased awareness of how hate speech and discrimination …