Friday, January 14, 2022

January-March Deadlines - Calls for Inputs by UN Human Rights Mechanisms

The following calls for inputs have been issued by the UN Human Rights Mechanisms with deadlines in January-March 2022 and law professors whose practice, research, and/or scholarship touches on these topics may be interested in submission:

Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence – Call for inputs on roles and responsibilities of non-state actors in transitional justice processes. Deadline January 14, 2022. Read more.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for comments and textual suggestions on Draft Convention on the Right to Development. Deadline January 16, 2022. Read More.

Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health – Call for contributions for report on violence and its impact on the right to health. Deadline January 18, 2022. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions – Call for input on the state of knowledge and implementation of the United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions [The Minnesota Protocol]. Deadline January 30, 2022. Read more.

Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Call for submissions. Report on the militarization of indigenous land. Deadline January 31, 2022. Read more.

Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Call for submissions for study on treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements, between indigenous peoples and States, including peace accords and reconciliation initiatives, and their constitutional recognition. Deadline January 31, 2022. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children – Call for inputs on report on trafficking of persons in the agricultural sector. Deadline January 31, 2022. Read more.

Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity – Call for inputs on report on the realization of the right of persons affected by violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, in relation to Sustainable Development Goals. Deadline January 31, 2022. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association – Call for inputs on the trends, developments, and challenges to the ability of civil society organizations to access resources, including foreign funding. Deadline February 2, 2022. Read more.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - Call for inputs for report on internet shutdowns and human rights. Deadline February 10, 2022. Read more.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs on the issue of child, early and forced marriage. Deadline February 15, 2022. Read more.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the realization of the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl. Deadline February 18, 2022. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights – Call for inputs on “secondary sanctions, civil and criminal penalties for circumvention of sanctions regimes, and over-compliance with sanctions” and “Unilateral sanctions in the cyber world”. Deadline February 28, 2022. Read more.

Working Group on the use of mercenaries – Call for inputs on victims of mercenaries, mercenary related actors, and private military and security companies. Deadline February 28, 2022. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the right to development – Call for inputs on the right to development COVID recovery plans and policies and the right to development. Deadline March 1, 2022. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights – Call for inputs on Mercury, artisanal and small-scale gold mining and human rights. Deadline March 7, 2022. Read more.

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – Shadow reports for review of the U.S. due March 21, 2022. Read more.

This information was compiled by Khala Turner, a 3L at St. Louis University School of Law, from https://ohchr.org/EN/Pages/calls-for-input.aspx.

January 14, 2022 in United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 6, 2021

December and January Deadlines - Calls for Inputs by UN Human Rights Mechanisms

The following calls for inputs have been issued by the UN Human Rights Mechanisms with deadlines in December 2021 and January 2022. Law professors whose practice, research, and/or scholarship touches on these topics may be interested in submission.

Special Rapporteur of the Independence of Judges and Lawyers – Call for inputs on report on Protection of lawyers. Deadline December 6, 2021. Read more.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for contributions on report on normative standards and obligations under international law in relation to the promotion and protection of the human rights of older persons. Deadline December 6, 2021. Read More.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs on Thematic studies of the expert mechanism on the right to development. Deadline December 31, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation – Call for input to 2022 reports: indigenous peoples and people living in rural areas. Deadline December 31, 2021. Read more.

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – The U.S. will be reviewed at the 10th session of CERD in April 2022. Civil society submissions for the List of Themes will likely be due in mid-January 2022. and shadow reports will likely be due sometime in March 2022. Check the CERD webpage for updates.

Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence – Call for input to 2022 report on the roles and responsibilities of non-state actors (armed groups and other NSAs) in transitional justice processes aimed at addressing the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in conflict and authoritarian settings. Deadline January 14, 2022. Read more.

Working Group on the Right to Development – Call for comments and textual suggestions on the Draft Convention on the Right to Development. Deadline January 16, 2022. Read more.

Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Call for inputs on 2022 report on the militarization of indigenous land. Deadline January 31, 2022. Read more.

Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Call for inputs on student on treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements, between indigenous peoples and States, including peace accords and reconciliation initiatives, and their constitutional recognition. Deadline January 31, 2022. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons especially women and children – Call for inputs on trafficking of persons in the agricultural sector. Deadline January 31, 2022. Read more.

This information was compiled by Khala Turner, a 3L at St. Louis University School of Law, from https://ohchr.org/EN/Pages/calls-for-input.aspx.

December 6, 2021 in United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 31, 2021

November Deadlines - Calls for Inputs by UN Human Rights Mechanisms

The following calls for inputs have been issued by the UN Human Rights Mechanisms with deadlines in November 2021 and law professors whose practice, research, and/or scholarship touches on these topics may be interested in submission:

Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities – Call for inputs on Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities on Artificial Intelligence and the rights of persons with disabilities. Deadline November 3, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues – Call for inputs on upcoming country visit to the United States of America. Deadline November 7, 2021. Read more.

High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights – Call for inputs on social development challenges faced by persons with albinism. Deadline November 30, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Balakrishnan Rajagopal and Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier de Schutter– Call for inputs on report on Decriminalization of homelessness and extreme poverty. Deadline November 30, 2021. Read More.

Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Balakrishnan Rajagopal and Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier de Schutter – Call for inputs on Decriminalization of homelessness and extreme poverty. Deadline November 30, 2021. Read more.

This information was compiled by Khala Turner, a 3L at St. Louis University School of Law, from https://ohchr.org/EN/Pages/calls-for-input.aspx.

October 31, 2021 in United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 24, 2021

U.S. Elected to the U.N. Human Rights Council That Trump Quit

By Kaeleigh Williams, 2L at St. Louis University School of Law

On Thursday October 14, 2021, the U.N. General Assembly elected the United States to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council. The Trump administration quit the 47-member body more than three years ago, after it called the 47-nation council hypocritical and for anti-Israel prejudice. The withdrawal from the council was disappointing for many, who hoped to persuade the U.S. that a multilateral approach to the world’s biggest problem was worth sticking with.  

The U.S. received 168 votes in the secret ballot by the General Assembly. It begins a three-year term on January 1, 2022.  

When President Joe Biden took office in January, he pledged that human rights would be the center of his foreign policy and his administration has not shied away from criticizing China over Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan and calling out Russia.  

"The U.S. will have an opportunity to demonstrate just how serious the Biden administration is about making human rights central to its domestic and foreign policies," said Human Rights Watch U.N. Director Louis Charbonneau. "With a lot of missteps so far, they should use their time on the council to promote human rights among friends and foes alike."  

Antony J. Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, stated, “We will work hard to ensure the Council upholds its highest aspirations and better supports those fighting against injustice and tyranny around the world. The path towards the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms will be filled with challenges. The United States commits to continue this steadfast pursuit, at every opportunity, with any and all countries that will join us.”  

See President Biden’s statement about the U.S. election to the HRC here.  

October 24, 2021 in United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 17, 2021

U.S. Reengages with UN Human Rights Mechanisms

The United States was elected to the UN Human Rights Council on October 14, 2021, more than three years after the Trump administration withdrew from the Council.  On the campaign trail President Biden had promised that the United States would week election on the Council and the administration began to reengage with the Council earlier this year as an observer. 

Also noteworthy is that on September 24, 2021, the United States submitted its Sixth Periodic Report to the UN Committee Against Torture concerning the implementation of the United States’ obligations under the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in accordance with Article 19 of the Convention. The report covers both domestic and extra-territorial violations of the prohibition against torture, cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment. As reported by Jamil Dakwar, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Human Rights Program, the report was due in 2018 but the Trump administration failed to submit a reply to the Committee’s detailed questions. The organization of this report follows the general guidelines for the preparation of reports by Member States. The U.S. report will likely be reviewed by the U.N. Committee Against Torture in late 2022 or early 2023 depending on the backlog caused by COVID-19.  U.S. civil society organizations (including human rights clinics) may wish to submit shadow reports to the Committee in the coming year.

October 17, 2021 in Convention Against Torture, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Event: 10/4-10/5 UN Office at Geneva and Nizami Ganjavi International Center Webcast on "Peace, Diversity and our Common Humanity"

On October 4-5, 2021, the United Nations Office at Geneva and the Nizami Ganjavi International Center will be holding a webcast on “Peace, Diversity and our Common Humanity”. From the event organizers:

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has just published his report “Our Common Agenda”, calling on the international community to join forces to tackle the rising nationalism, deep-rooted rifts, glaring inequalities and the climate emergency which mark our current world situation, and to strengthen and accelerate multilateral cooperation in the coming years.

The aim of this high-level event is to heed this call and to endorse both multilateralism and the values of peace, human rights, dignity, equality, justice, and solidarity that have underpinned the work of the United Nations for over 75 years. Over the course of the two-day event, different aspects of the current world situation will be discussed in the following four panels: “Peace and Security in a Changing World”, “Diversity in the Context of Our Common Humanity”, “Environment and Climate as All-Encompassing Issues” and “Equality within the Sustainable Development Goals”.

To register for online participation, please use the following link: https://indico.un.org/event/ 36858/. For any queries, please contact unog.frontoffice@un.org.

September 29, 2021 in United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 16, 2021

UN experts call for end to police brutality worldwide

UN Special Rapporteurs Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and Clement Nyaletsossi Voulé, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, as well as others, have expressed alarm at what they describe as a “rampant police brutality against peaceful protesters worldwide” and warned States of the grave danger arising from such abuse for human rights and the rule of law. 

“In recent months and years, we have repeatedly voiced our concern over a steady increase in the use of excessive force, police brutality, and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, as well as arbitrary detention, against predominantly peaceful protesters in all regions of the world,” the experts said in a statement on August 13, 2021. 

“This trend, often extending to journalists covering protests, has resulted in countless deaths and injuries, often exacerbated through torture, sexual violence, arbitrary detention, and enforced disappearance, and has intimidated, traumatized, and antagonised large segments of society worldwide.”

The experts said the vast majority of these incidents were rooted in political, socio-economic, ethnic, racial, religious, or other tensions specific to particular national or regional situations. “At the same time, there are also relevant, more generic contexts of global reach and underlying reasons of racism, gender-based and other forms of discrimination in law enforcement,” they said.

“Large-scale migration, protests of climate activists, human rights defenders, indigenous peoples and, more recently, the Black Lives Matter movement are affected by excessive use of force and police brutality.

“Additionally, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been numerous reports of security forces employing excessive and often indiscriminate violence resulting in unlawful deaths, injury and psychological trauma, as well as arbitrary detentions, in order to enforce emergency measures for the protection of public health, such asbans on assemblies, lockdowns and curfews.

“Most worryingly, throughout all regions and contexts, these acts of violence and abuse have often been encouraged by divisive, discriminatory and inflammatory narratives spread or condoned by political leaders, local authorities, and parts of the media, and by the resulting atmosphere of near complete impunity for perpetrators.”

The experts said it is the prime responsibility of governments and political leaders to prevent such dangerous developments through non-violent means including, most notably, pro-active communication aiming at de-escalation, reconciliation, and the peaceful exercise of civil and political rights.

“Public confidence in the reliability, legitimacy and integrity of State institutions and their law enforcement officials is the most valuable commodity of any peaceful, just and sustainable society and the very foundation of democracy and the rule of law,” the experts said.

“We therefore urge governments and political leaders not to needlessly squander the trust of their people, to refrain from any unwarranted violence, coercion and divisiveness, and to prioritize and promote dialogue, tolerance and diversity in the common public interest of all.”

August 16, 2021 in Global Human Rights, Lauren Bartlett, Police, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 8, 2021

July & August 2021 Deadlines - Calls for Inputs by UN Human Rights Mechanisms

The following UN Human Rights Mechanisms have issued calls for inputs with deadlines in July and August 2021 and law professors whose practice, research, and/or scholarship touches on these topics may be interested in submission:

Special Rapporteur on racial discrimination - Call for input on combating glorification of Nazim, neo-Nazim, and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance. Deadline July 12, 2021. Read more.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for input on analytical report on a comprehensive approach to promoting, protecting, and respecting women's and girls' full enjoyment of human rights in humanitarian situations, including good practices, challenges, and lessons learned at the national, regional, and international levels. Deadline July 12, 2021. Read more

Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association - Call for input on thematic report addressing the protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests during crisis situations. Deadline July 31, 2021. Read more

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - Call for comments and textual suggestions for the draft convention on the right to development. Deadline: August 20, 2021. Read more

Special Rapporteur on torture – Call for input for comments on a report on the impact of thematic reports presented by the Special Rapporteur on Torture. Deadline August 31, 2021. Read more.

This information was compiled by Khala Turner, rising 3L at St. Louis University School of Law, from https://ohchr.org/EN/Pages/calls-for-input.aspx.

July 8, 2021 in United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Event: June 24th Discussion on the rights of indigenous women and girls with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will hold a virtual day of general discussion on the rights of indigenous women and girls. The Committee states that "the purpose of the day of general discussion is to stimulate debate and seek inputs for the elaboration by the Committee of a General Recommendation on the rights of indigenous women and girls. The aim of the General Recommendation will be to provide guidance to States parties to the Convention on the measures they should adopt to ensure full compliance with their obligations under the Convention to respect and protect the rights of indigenous women and girls." 

The discussion will take place online on Thursday June 24, 2021, from 12:30pm-2:30pm and from 4:00pm-6:00pm (Geneva time)/ 6:30am-8:30am and 10:00am-12noon (Eastern time). (Link to be posted here at a later date).

The Committee welcomes written submissions which should be sent electronically in Word format to Marco Zanin, Human Rights Officer, at mzanin@ohchr.org, indicating "Submission - General discussion on GRIWAG" in the subject. Submissions must not exceed a maximum of 3,300 words and must be received by June 18, 2021 at the latest.  

If you wish to deliver a brief oral statement during the discussion, it must not exceed 3 minutes and you must indicate your intention to do so and must send your statement electronically in Word format to Marco Zanin at mzanin@ohchr.org by June 18, 2021 at the latest, indicating "Registration - General discussion on GRIWAG"in the subject. 

More information on this event is available here.

June 10, 2021 in CEDAW, Lauren Bartlett, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

June & July 2021 Deadlines - Calls for Inputs by UN Human Rights Mechanisms

The following UN Human Rights Mechanisms have issued calls for inputs with deadlines in June and July 2021 and law professors whose practice, research, and/or scholarship touches on these topics may be interested in submission:

Special Rapporteur on the right to everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health – Call for inputs on the right to sexual and reproductive health–challenges and possibilities during COVID-19. Deadline Jun 10, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants - Call for inputs on the impact of COVID-19 on the human rights of migrants. Deadline June 14, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression - Call for submissions on gender justice and the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Deadline June 14, 2021. Read more.

Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order – Call for inputs on the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a serious test to multilateralism, laying bare its weaknesses and how it could be the opportunity for a strengthened, more effected and inclusive multilateralism. Deadline June 18, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism Call for inputs on the human rights dimensions of technical assistance and capacity building in the counter-terrorism and countering/preventing violent extremism areas. Deadline June 30, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association – Call for inputs on the protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests during crisis situations. Deadline July 31, 2021. Read more.

This information was compiled by Khala Turner, rising 3L at St. Louis University School of Law, from https://ohchr.org/EN/Pages/calls-for-input.aspx.

June 9, 2021 in Lauren Bartlett, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 8, 2021

April-May 2021 Deadlines - Calls for Inputs by UN Human Rights Mechanisms

The following UN Human Rights Mechanisms have issued calls for inputs with deadlines in April and May 2021 and law professors whose research and scholarship touches on these topics may be interested in submission:

Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery – Call for inputs on the role of organized criminal groups with regard to contemporary forms of slavery. Deadline April 16, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights – Call for inputs from States and Stakeholders to inform a thematic report on the lifecycle of plastics and human rights. Deadline April 21, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on violence against women – Call for inputs to inform the Special Rapporteur’s report on femicide. Deadline April 30, 2021. Read more.

Independent Expert on human rights and the environment – Call for inputs on healthy and sustainable food: reducing the environmental impacts of the global food system on human rights. Deadline May 1, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the sale of children – Call for inputs on the gender dimensions of the sale and sexual exploitation of children and the importance of integrating a human rights-based and a non-binary approach to combating and eradicating sale and sexual exploitation of children. Deadline May 10, 2021. Read more.

This information was compiled from https://ohchr.org/EN/Pages/calls-for-input.aspx.

April 8, 2021 in Lauren Bartlett, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 22, 2021

News: Is there a New Era For Human Rights on the Horizon?

JoAnn Kamuf Ward and Jamil Dakwar, Is there a New Era For Human Rights on the Horizon? What We Can Learn from the Biden-Harris Administration’s First UN Appearance, Just Security (March 19, 2021), https://www.justsecurity.org/75429/is-there-a-new-era-for-human-rights-on-the-horizon/

"It’s been a busy week for the Biden-Harris administration on the global stage. On Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris made the first official administration statement to the United Nations, speaking at the annual U.N. Commission on the Status of Women to underscore U.S. commitments to democracy and gender equality. Wednesday morning, the new administration made its first formal appearance at the U.N. Human Rights Council, as part of a review of the U.S. human rights record, known as the Universal Periodic Review, or UPR. This appearance was followed by an unprecedented racial justice event, co-sponsored by the U.S. Mission in Geneva and featuring prominent racial justice advocates, including Black Lives Matter founder Opal Tometi and Gay MacDougall, the current U.S. nominee to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

...This week’s UPR appearance is significant because the Biden-Harris administration is representing the United States to articulate which of the recommendations the government is committed to implementing, which recommendations it will reject, and why."

March 22, 2021 in Lauren Bartlett, United Nations, Universal Periodic Reviews | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 8, 2021

March 2021 Deadlines - Calls for Inputs by UN Human Rights Mechanisms

The following UN Human Rights Mechanisms have issued calls for inputs with deadlines in March 2021 and law professors whose scholarship touches on these topics may be interested in submission:

Working Group on the use of mercenaries - Call for inputs for report on the role of private military and security companies (PMSCs) in humanitarian action (to be presented to the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, Sep 2021). Deadline March 9, 2021. Read more.

Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity - Call for inputs for report on gender, sexual orientation and gender identity (to be presented to the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, June 2021). Deadline March 14, 2021.  Read more.

Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery - Call for inputs for report on the nexus between forced displacement and contemporary forms of slavery (to be presented to the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, Sep 2021). Deadline March 15, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights - Call for input for report the right to benefit from scientific progress and its applications (to be presented to the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, Sep 2021). Deadline March 15, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples - Call for inputs for report on the situation of indigenous peoples living in urban areas (to be presented to the 76th session of the General Assembly, Oct 2021). Deadline March 17, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples - Call for inputs for report on Covid-19 recovery and indigenous peoples’ rights (to be presented to the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, Sep 2021). Deadline March 17, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders – Call for inputs for report on the long-term detention of human rights defenders (to be presented to the 76th session of the General Assembly, Oct 2021). Deadline March 19, 2021. Read more.

Working Group of experts on people of African descent - Call for inputs for public session and report on Environmental Justice, the Climate Crisis and people of African descent (to be presented to the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, Sep 2021). Deadline March 22, 2021. Read more.

Independent Expert on older persons - Call for inputs for report on the causes, manifestations and prevalence of ageism and age discrimination (to be presented to the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, Sep 2021). Deadline March 22, 2021. Read more.

Independent Expert on older persons - Call for inputs for report on the intersection between ageing and gender and the specific human rights concerns and challenges faced by older women (to be presented to the 76th session of the General Assembly, Sep 2021). Deadline March 22, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the right to development - Call for inputs for report on the Climate change related policies and projects from a right to development perspective (to be presented to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly in 2021). Deadline March 28, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights - Call for inputs for impact analysis of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) (a series of meetings with the IMO in Dec 2020). Deadline March 31, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights - Call for inputs for report on the lifecycle of plastics and human rights (to be presented to the 76th session of the General Assembly, Sep 2021). Deadline March 31, 2021. Read more.

This list was compiled by the International Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA).  To access wonderful monthly updates on UN Human Rights Mechanisms calls for inputs and country visits schedule, visit: https://ilga.org/newsletters.

March 8, 2021 in Lauren Bartlett, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

23 UN Human Rights Experts Issue Statement on Policing and Systemic Racism in the US

On Friday February 26, 2021, 23 UN human rights experts issued a very strong statement on policing and systemic racism in the United States. The statement calls out police use of excessive force against protesters, highlighting the Philadelphia Police Department’s violent crackdown on Black Lives Matter protesters last June. The statement is also the first time international human rights experts have echoed the Black Lives Matter Movement and allied groups in calling to shift resources from police departments to social and economic resources to support communities of color.

This is also very significant because the last time the UN addressed the issue there was outrage after the UN Human Rights Council watered down a resolution on police brutality and racism after George Floyd's murder, removing the language condemning the US and calling for an investigation. 

This statement would not have been possible but for the incredible advocacy of Professors Rachel Lopez and Lauren Katz Smith and their students at Drexel's Kline School of Law, as well as the ACLU of Pennsylvania. 

March 3, 2021 in Advocacy, Community Advocacy, Discrimination, Global Human Rights, Lauren Bartlett, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The UN Makes Unprecedented Response to George Floyd’s Murder

Editors' Note:  We continue our symposium in the aftermath of Mr. Floyd's death with this post on the United Nation's response.

By Guest Contributor Prof. Gay McDougall

Senior Fellow and Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence
Leitner Center for International Law and Justice/Center for Race, Law and Justice
Fordham University School of Law

Former Vice Chair, UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 

Former UN Special Rapporteur on Minorities



Image1This week governments and civil society around the world joined forces to pressure the UN to adopt a resolution responding to the murder of George Floyd and other unarmed African Americans.  The resolution passed on June 19th, 2020, celebrated by Black Americans as the day of emancipation from enslavement, was historic in many ways and in some ways disappointing. 

The original draft that was introduced by the African Group at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, was a response to a letter from the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, and Philando Castile, together with Black Lives Matter, the NAACP and over 670 rights groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. Human Rights Network, and myself as Senior Advisor, wrote a Coalition Letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council appealing that it swiftly convene a special session to investigate the escalating situation of police violence and repression of protests in the United States.

“Mamie Till Mobley made a decision to open the casket of her son Emmett Till so the world could see the atrocities Black people faced in America. I want people across the world and the leaders in the United Nations to see the video of my brother George Floyd, to listen to his cry for help, and I want them to answer his cry,” said Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd. “I appeal to the United Nations to help him. Help me. Help us. Help Black men and women in America.”

The Coalition Letter warned of an “unfolding grave human rights crisis” in the United States and describes the recent police killings of unarmed Black people as well as police use of excessive force to suppress protests as violations of United States obligations under international law. It called on the U.N. to mandate an independent inquiry into the killings and violent law enforcement responses to protests, including the attacks against protesters and journalists. The letter also calls for a U.N. investigation into President Trump’s order that maximum force be used.

“We are greatly concerned that rather than using his position to serve as a force for calm and unity, President Trump has chosen to weaponize the tensions through his rhetoric, evidenced by his promise to seize authority from Governors who fail to take the most extreme tactics against protestors and to deploy federal armed forces against protestors (an action which would be of questionable legality).”

“Our greatest concern is that the violence and counter-violence are diverting the gaze of the global community away from the pain being expressed by a nation in mourning over the callous manner of the 8 minutes and 46 seconds that ended George Floyd’s life while a group of police stood and watched, about the death of more than 100,000 souls from the coronavirus – disproportionately killing Black, Brown and Indigenous people – and about how injustice never ends and equality never comes. There is serious concern that the tear gas and police-induced havoc will obscure the legitimate passion of these demonstrations. The voices of the demonstrators must be heard. Their demand is that the endemic racism, hatred, fear and disparity finally be confronted.”

The call for a meaningful response from the UN Human Rights Council was joined by other human rights officials: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stated that “we need to raise our voices against all expressions of racism and instances of racist behavior.” The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, called for serious action to halt US police killings of unarmed African Americans and a Joint statement by 45 Special Procedures Experts of the HR Council said “[t]he uprising nationally is a protest against systemic racism that produces state-sponsored racial violence, and licenses impunity for this violence.”

The CERD Committee issued a very strong statement under its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures expressing grave concern over the “horrific killing of George Floyd” and calls for accountability and immediate and appropriate reforms aimed at eliminating racially disparate impacts or structural discrimination in the police and the criminal justice system.

In a joint OpEd signed by all the Under-Secretary Generals of the UN, they committed to take effective actions that will go beyond words.

And the African Group (which represents 54 UN Member States from the African continent) requested an “urgent debate” during the Human Rights Council session “on the current racially inspired human rights violations, systemic racism, police brutality and the violence against peaceful protest.”

In an unprecedented move, the Human Rights Council session began with a video appeal from the Special Rapporteur on Racism, Tendayi Achi---, that broke with all traditions of diplomatic double-speak in challenging the Council to not miss this chance to be on the right side of history. That was followed by an impassioned appeal by video from the brother of George Floyd.

As negotiations started on the strong draft resolution submitted by the African Group, it became clear that we were up against formidable headwinds. We were told that representatives of the US were “bullying” delegates: for example, threatening to impact the foreign assistance to their countries unless all references to the US is deleted along with the call for the establishment of a commission of inquiry—even demanding the name of George Floyd be deleted. Over the next few days, the forces against us succeeded in watering down the resolution until only its bare bones remained. 

Still, the final resolution calls on the High Commissioner to prepare a comprehensive report on systematic racism, policing practices such as that led to the killing of George Floyd, violence against protesters, and related incidents globally.  This is a significant step forward in a continuing struggle.

June 21, 2020 in Race, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, February 3, 2020

UN Hacked

The Vienna and Geneva offices of the United Nations were hacked.  The hack was reported to be a sophisticated one that usually indicates espionage.  Dozens of servers were compromised, including the Human Rights Office.  According to  ABC News, the level of sophistication was so high that a state-level actor is suspected.  The UN claims that no sensitive information was obtained.  

Reports claim that "The hack comes at a time when concerns about computer and mobile phone vulnerabilities, for large organizations such as governments and the U.N. as well as for individuals and businesses" and "there is no indication that data was exfiltrated from Vienna" which is the UN's home to their office on Drugs and Crime.

February 3, 2020 in Martha F. Davis, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 4, 2019

US Leaves UNESCO - Again

The US has never had a faithful relationship with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).  When the UNESCO was young, the US wanted a voice in the education in Germany and other Axis countries to ensure that the history of World War II was taught accurately.  Beyond a desire to influence education, the US never viewed UNESCO as an organization of influence.  

During the Reagan administration, the US left UNESCO and then rejoined during the George W. Bust administration when in post-911 efforts to ensure the support of other nations, UNESCO was seen as a way to accomplish US goals.  As more and more countries joined UNESCO the US's vote carried little influence while the US claims to be paying a disproportionately portion of the UNESCO budget.  

US Funding for UNESCO was halted during the Obama administration because of the organization's recognition of the Palestinian state in 2011.  At this point the US has accrued $600 million in unpaid dues.  While the Trump administration announced the withdrawal in 2017, formal withdrawal happened last week.  The Trump administration added claims that UNESCO has an anti-Israeli bias to the reasons for US withdrawal.  

 

February 4, 2019 in Margaret Drew, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 7, 2019

US Moves Further Away From Human Rights Cooperation

In an earlier blog post, we discussed the worries of human rights advocates, one of which was a concern that the US was no longer cooperating with international human rights reports. In a move that signals the US moving in that direction, the Guardian reported that the US has stopped responding to special rapporteur complaints of human rights violations within our borders.  

Reportedly the US stopped responding to complaints last May.  13 inquiries have gone unanswered.  The prior administration invited 16 Special Rapporteurs to visit the US.  The current administration has invited none. The US responded badly to the June report filed by Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on  Extreme Poverty criticizing the US failure to address poverty within its borders.  Then UN Ambassador Nikki Haley fired back that the report was biased and time would be better spent investigating other countries.  UN rapporteurs are unable to submit reports to the UN Human Rights Council without an official visit. 

Without US cooperation concerns such as treatment of border migrants are unlikely to be investigated and reported by the UN.  Unofficial visits can happen, of course, but resulting reports will not have official sanction of the UN Human Rights Council.  Perhaps one remedy is for the Council to create another tier of reporting, one that would accommodate investigations that have not been invited by the country whose conditions are being investigated.  Unofficial reporting of investigated conditions could be published, which would greatly assist local US advocates in dealing with municipalities to find remedies for inhumane conditions.

 

 

January 7, 2019 in Global Human Rights, Margaret Drew, United Nations, Universal Periodic Reviews | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rumor Has It...

Reportedly, the Trump administration is considering withdrawing the US from the UN Human Rights Council.

The reported reasons are the council's treatment of the Jewish state as unfair.  Other reasons include that countries with gross human rights violations are permitted to sit on the council.  President George W. Bush had similar concerns, but President Obama reversed the Bush decision.

That the administration is considering withdrawal is no surprise, but nonetheless is another move with shocking consequences.  One wonders about the integrity behind the concerns.  A strong supporter of long-time ally Israel, Trump's protest is understandable.  But what is concerning is that US withdrawal would come at a time when human rights are being restricted within our boarders.  The immigration orders and enforcement tactics ignore human rights.  Muhammad Ali, Jr. and his mother were detained at a Florida airport because of their names and reportedly were questioned extensively  about their religion.  A French historian who is a visiting professor at Texas A & M was detained for 10 hours and nearly deported.  President Trump instructed law enforcement to make crimes committed by the undocumented "highly publicized" while at the same time NYT, CNN and others were prevented from attending a briefing with press secretary Spicer.

At the same time, women's rights and rights of minorities are waning.  Assaults on women, Jews, Muslims, and racial minorities have increased since the inauguration, if not the election. 

Refusal to participate by Pres. Bush did not carry the same veiled threat as does a refusal to participate made by President Trump.  Non-participation at this point removes another possible source of help that might otherwise be available to US citizens who wish to stop the erosion of their human rights.  While withdrawal may be symbolic in many ways, one of those symbols is an ongoing attempt to eliminate human rights in the US.

February 28, 2017 in Global Human Rights, Margaret Drew, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Educating Mr. Trump

One hundred forty characters is not really enough to do justice to the wide-ranging work of the United Nations.  But that didn't stop President-elect Trump from trying to use his twitter account to do just that, calling the UN "just a club for people to have a good time."  It's unfortunate that the President-elect doesn't have a better understanding of the UN's work and the US role in this international body.

First, it's worth noting that there is great depth of popular support for the UN within the United States.  When the Pew Foundation conducted an in-depth study just this past spring, it found that 64 percent of Americans had a favorable view of the United Nations.  While this number masked a significant partisan divide, with Democrats much more likely than Republicans to support the UN, the president-elect would do well to note that one of the key constituencies in his electoral college victory, Independents, also registered 64 percent support. 

Second, the President-elect may be unaware of the importance of UN, and US, leadership in furthering human rights worldwide.  For all of the internal critiques of the Obama administration's human rights record, the Administration's engagement with UN agencies over eight years has certainly increased global awareness of the positive aspects of US human rights achievements.  Under Obama, the United States has regularly submitted reports to UN bodies concerning its human rights record and goals, a practice that then gives our country additional credibility when we criticize human rights failings elsewhere.  Further, the current Administration has begun using the human rights reporting process to engage our own state and local governments in achieving -- and highlighting -- national human rights goals.  Yes, we may use this platform to tout our own achievements (Obamacare is one of them), but these UN treaty monitoring bodies are far from feel-good social clubs. The international human rights dialogue moderated by these bodies is real and constructive, and the US would lose  both stature and credibility it if scaled back its robust participation.

Finally, the incoming Administration's tweets do nothing to address the growing concern across America -- in states of all hues -- that human rights are of little import to the President-elect.  This year's Human Rights Day on December 9 was accompanied by columns, op eds and protests around the country from concerned citizens.  In 2008, even before he took the oath of office, the incoming President Obama issued a stirring statement on human rights day signalling US commitment to these issues.  The President issued similar statements each year during his two terms, concluding with the Presidential Proclamation commemorating human rights week in 2016.  Sadly, to date we've had only tweets from the incoming administration. 

December 27, 2016 in Martha F. Davis, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)