Superpower rivalry ‘captures’ the Human Rights Council

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog

As argued in the Universal Rights Group’s end of session report , the recently concluded 48th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC48) was one of the most acrimonious gatherings in the fifteen-year history of the Council, with heightened contemporary geopolitical tensions spilling over into, and in many ways ‘capturing,’ the critical wider work of the UN’s main human rights body. Much of the …

Vaccine nationalism: Is US support for vaccine patent waivers a PR stunt?

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

The Biden administration made headlines on 5 May when, in a sharp reversal of US policy, it accounted its agreement, in principle, with proposals at the WTO to waive patent protection for COVID-19 vaccines. Pharma companies and stockbrokers were not the only ones taken by surprise by the US volte-face. Other Western States where COVID-19 vaccines are produced, especially in …

Trump, Facebook, democracy and rights: ‘how to handle free speech in an age of information chaos’

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

Writing in the Guardian on 5 May, Alan Rusbridger, a former newspaper editor and now member of the Facebook Oversight Board, set out in stark terms the dilemma facing the Board as it reviewed the social media giant’s decision, last January, to ban then President Donald Trump from its platform. ‘On 6 January, he was the president of the United States: probably …

US-China-Russia rivalry spills over into the Human Rights Council

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog

Towards the end of last year, Bahrain’s ambassador in Geneva suddenly threw his hat into the ring for the presidency of the Human Rights Council – potentially blocking the previously unopposed candidacy of Fiji’s ambassador, Nazhat Shameem Khan. Then, earlier this month, Belarus and Cuba delivered two joint statements at the Council, attacking EU member States and the UK, and calling on …

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 …

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 …

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 …

US co-host virtual signing ceremony of the Geneva Consensus Declaration in latest pushback on women’s rights

by Anna Mattedi, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In Focus: Human rights and religion

On Thursday 22 October 2020, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, co-hosted a virtual signing ceremony of the Geneva Consensus Declaration on ‘Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family’. During the ceremony, a coalition of 30 States, repeatedly denied women’s right to an abortion in the guise of protecting national sovereignty and …