Human Rights Council vote to elect new President sets a positive precedent

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

There have been suggestions in press coverage about the selection of the 2021 President of the Human Rights Council that the inability of members of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) to settle on a single consensus candidate, and to instead pass the decision to the full Council for vote by secret ballot, was in some way a bad thing – that it was …

41st Session of the Human Rights Council.

A new year’s resolution: placing the Human Rights Council at the vanguard of the global democratic fight-back

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

It is now over thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and excited talk about the ‘end of history’ [i] – the idea that with the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991) and the ascendancy of Western liberal democracy, humanity had reached ‘not just […] the passing of a particular period of …

In the wake of attack on the Capitol, Biden repeats commitment to strengthen democracy domestically and abroad

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy, Universal Rights Group NYC

Biden has repeatedly affirmed his dedication to crafting a foreign policy plan focused on rebuilding alliances with like-minded partners in order to strengthen the United States’ position as a nation that protects and promotes democracy and human rights globally. He made this clear in recent remarks and, in an address following the insurrection at the United States Capitol on 6 …

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 …

What will US foreign policy look like under President Joe Biden?

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

Those listening to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory speech over the weekend would have heard him make a fleeting reference to his vision for resetting US foreign policy and renewing America’s global leadership. “Tonight,” he said , “the whole world is watching America. I believe at our best, America is a beacon for the globe. And we lead not by the example …

Biden signals intent to drive global progress on democracy, human rights, and free and fair elections

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

28 October 2020, Geneva With the US presidential election only days away, and millions of votes already cast through early voting and absentee ballots, in an election cycle fraught with fears about voter suppression and the weakening of American democracy, a speech given by Democratic candidate Joe Biden that centers democracy at home and abroad has taken on greater meaning. …

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. …

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 …

Is digital technology rotting British and American democracy from the inside out

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

The rapid evolution and spread of digital technology are already having a major impact on the enjoyment of civil and political rights around the world, and on the ways in which democracies function. Some of those impacts are undoubtedly positive. Digital technology, for example, allows citizens to scrutinise the actions and decisions of government officials (e.g. in the context of …