On Friday 4th November, during an event held on the margins of the UN General Assembly, the Universal Rights Group (URG) officially launched its New York Office. The decision to establish a permanent presence in New York reflects the key role of UN headquarters, especially the General Assembly’s Third Committee, the Security Council and the UN Development Group, in formulating and implementing international human rights policy. It also reflects the truth that improved coordination between ‘Geneva’ and ‘New York’ is vital in order to strengthen the enjoyment of human rights around the world.
The 4th November event, during which the formal establishment of URG NYC was announced by URG Executive Director Mr Marc Limon, was held in the presence of H.E. Mr Kyong-Lim CHOI, President of the Human Rights Council; Ms Cihan Sultanoğlu, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (RBEC), UNDP; Ms Yanghee Lee, Chair of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures; Mr Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Head of OHCHR New York; and Ms Jane Connors, Director, International Advocacy Programme, Amnesty International. The event, hosted by the Permanent Missions of Norway and Switzerland, and organised by URG, featured a panel discussion on the theme of: ‘Turning international norms into local reality – implementation, support and prevention.’ The event also featured a keynote address by the President of the Human Rights Council on the theme of: ‘From declaration to implementation: the complementary roles of the Third Committee and the Human Rights Council in turning international norms into national reality.’
Coinciding with the event, URG also launched the New York edition of its website, with expanded tools to cover the human rights work of the General Assembly, and news and updates on URG NYC activities, events and publications. > Visit URG NYC Website
The URG is pleased to announce that it will be partnering on future projects with the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
URG New York will be headed by Ms Rose Parris Richter, Director (see attached biography). The Chairman of the Board, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, current UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, will also play an active role at URG NYC as a non-executive director.
Speaking about the opening of URG NYC, Rose Richter, Director, said:
‘Effectively setting and implementing international human rights norms requires a joined-up approach between Geneva and New York. URG NYC will aim to help strengthen that link. Our goal will be to bring the same high level of independent policy analysis and recommendation to New York and the General Assembly, as has become URG’s hallmark in Geneva. Also like URG Geneva, we will aim to engage with all stakeholders, including all States from the global North and the global South, NGOs, UN officials and independent experts. We see our inclusivity and our objectivity as key strengths.
I am also delighted that URG NYC will work in partnership with the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York located on Fifth Avenue. The Institute attracts faculty from universities and colleges in the metropolitan area and worldwide, as well as analysts, policymakers, and practitioners to engage in research and education in the fields of international studies and contemporary global problem solving, meaning the partnership with URG will generate important synergies. We look forward to working together with the faculty and staff there.’
Notes for editors
Rose Parris Richter, Director, URG NYC – biography
Rose Parris Richter is a political strategist with sixteen years experience and is the Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief (FoRB).
Ms Richter served as Senior Advisor for the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations on UN elections, human rights, humanitarian, development issues, functioned as an Advisor to the Permanent Mission of Timor-Leste to the United Nations, served as a campaign manager and lobbyist for a range of civil society organisations and political campaigns in the United States, and was a Senior Advisor to the US House of Representatives prior to her current work.
Featured Image: Stu Rapley, ‘United Nations General Assembly: Panovision,’ 18 October 2012, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
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