The Human Right Council in 2023: on its journey to adulthood
Universal Rights Group (URG)
by Geneva
2d ago
A message from the 17th President of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Ambassador Václav Bálek (Czech Republic)  The most ratified human rights treaty in the world, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, stipulates that adulthood begins at the age of eighteen. During the Czech Presidency, the Human Rights Council enters its 17th year. Therefore, in the spirit of the Convention, the year 2023 should be the Council’s last full year on its journey to adulthood. This is both a great opportunity as well as a great responsibility. In my country, we have a saying: ‘What you le ..read more
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Human rights and the Security Council: practical steps to build effectiveness
Universal Rights Group (URG)
by Geneva
1M ago
In a newly released report, Human Rights and the Security Council: A Relationship in Need of Thoughtful, Creative and Constant Cultivation, published by the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights @JBI_HumanRights, its author, Joanna Weschler, argues that despite the difficult political dynamics at present, the Security Council still has an impressive range of tools, working methods and practices at its disposal that – if used creatively and with ongoing attention – can have significant impact on human rights conditions for many people around the world. Over the past seve ..read more
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Why is the Human Rights Council intent on ignoring human rights abuses in the occupied regions of Georgia, and what might Georgia do to strengthen international scrutiny?
Universal Rights Group (URG)
by Geneva
2M ago
Since 2017, Georgia has tabled resolutions under agenda item 10 of the Human Rights Council with the aim of increasing international scrutiny of the human rights situation in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, occupied by Russia since 1991-1993. Today, however, OHCHR reporting mandated through those resolutions, as well as Council debates held in response to the reports, are equally – if not more – focused on human rights challenges in the unoccupied parts of Georgia and on the actions of the Georgian Government, than they are on violations in the two occupied territories and ..read more
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Twitter’s descent reminds us of the dangers of free speech absolutism
Universal Rights Group (URG)
by Geneva
2M ago
Free speech absolutists have not been having it their own way recently. A decade ago normative interpretations of freedom of expression under international human rights law and under relevant resolutions of the Human Rights Council were fairly finely balanced between the ‘anything goes’ ideology espoused by the United States (US) as well as by American human rights lawyers and experts (including several Special Rapporteurs) on the one hand, and those States and experts (especially from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation – OIC) advocating a far more interventionist approach, on the other ..read more
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COP27 and the centrality of human rights in climate action
Universal Rights Group (URG)
by Geneva
2M ago
‘We’re on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator’ warned UN Secretary General, António Guterres, at the opening of COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on 7 November 2022. Guterres presented a grim dichotomy: ‘humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish. It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact – or a Collective Suicide Pact.’ COP27 was the first of these conferences to have been held since the recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment (R2HE) at the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly in October 2021 and July 2022, respectively. A year afte ..read more
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What now? Options for next steps following UN recognition of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment
Universal Rights Group (URG)
by Geneva
3M ago
Following the Human Rights Council and General Assembly resolutions recognising the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment (R2E), adopted in 2021 and 2022 respectively (HRC/RES/48/13 and A/RES/76/300), it is time to consider appropriate next steps in advancing the legal recognition, implementation, and monitoring of this right. With the above in mind, on 18 October the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica in Geneva, UNEP, and the Universal Rights Group hosted an informal lunch bringing together over 20 human rights experts from Geneva Permanent Missions in a non-attributable setting ..read more
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Report on the 51st session of the Human Rights Council
Universal Rights Group (URG)
by the URG team
4M ago
Quick summary The 51st regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC51) was held from Monday 12 September to Friday 7 October 2022. With Ms. Michelle Bachelet’s mandate as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights having come to an end on 31 August 2022, and the incoming UN High Commissioner, Mr. Volker Türk, not taking up his official functions until 17 October 2022, following his appointment by the Secretary General and its approval by the General Assembly on 8 September, Ms. Nada Al-Nashif, opened HRC51, as Acting High Commissioner, by presenting a global update on the situation of huma ..read more
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Between Principles and Pragmatism: How African states vote at the UN Human Rights Council
Universal Rights Group (URG)
by Geneva
4M ago
What would a comprehensive analysis of the voting record of African states at the UN Human Rights Council look like? The question isn’t easy, but we hope that the answer DefendDefenders and AfricanDefenders formulated will quench the thirst of those—diplomats, human rights advocates, or mere Council observers—who pay attention to the African Group… or worry about its voting patterns. As African human rights NGOs, we watch what African states do in regional and multilateral fora closely. As the Council approached its 50th session, we realised that to date, no one had analysed their voting behav ..read more
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Placing human rights at the core of climate action: towards a human rights-based approach to loss and damage
Universal Rights Group (URG)
by Geneva
4M ago
The summer of 2022 will be remembered by many as the time when the effects of climate change became for them all too real: water scarcity, droughts and desertification, loss of habitats and displacement due to wildfires, growing health conditions and deaths as a result of record-breaking heatwaves, displacement and destruction of housing and infrastructures due to record flooding. However, while these impacts are a relatively new phenomenon for wealthy countries, those in developing countries, particularly in Small Island States, have been coping with the consequences of climate change for yea ..read more
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Who is Volker Türk?
Universal Rights Group (URG)
by Geneva
5M ago
Opinions have already begun forming about Volker Türk in the short time since the announcement of his appointment last week as the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. However, in the absence of a public competition, there was little opportunity to learn about Türk. He is also not well-known outside of the UN (and had few followers on twitter until last week). Therefore, in the absence of personal familiarity, it may be useful to focus on his biography, body of work and statements. This would lead to a better understanding of why he was selected for this role. Central to Türk’s biography ..read more
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