UN Human Rights Council

June 16, 2020 
photograph of Malcolm X
In the 1960s, the African-American activist Malcolm X launched a lobbying campaign to “internationalize” the civil rights movement in the United States by calling on the United Nations to focus on the lives of black Americans through a human-rights lens. “When you expand the civil-rights struggle to the level of human rights,” Malcolm X …
June 10, 2020 
Joe Biden at Bethel AME Church Wilmington DE
With Joseph Biden taking an unassailable lead by June 7 as the Democratic Party’s choice for president of the United States, many Americans foresee a desperate, ugly political campaign for re-election by Donald Trump coming. The magnitude of his damage to America’s role in the world will be an issue for Democrats, along with …
March 15, 2020 
The coronavirus has officially hit the United Nations at its New York City headquarters. On Thursday, March 12, the first reported case was confirmed by a diplomat with the Philippines mission to the UN, who said that a Filipino colleague had tested positive for Covid-19 and had notified the “UN medical director’s office.” The …
March 9, 2020 
Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, who has been personally attacked by United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, is not planning to resign from her position, according to her office. Her term does not end until 2022, but rumors have been circulating that she could decide to leave amid …
March 4, 2020 
UN Secretary-General António Guterres
With International Women’s Day, March 8, on the horizon, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres blasted the intractable power of patriarchy, the cause of overwhelming gender injustice and an abuse of historical proportions, in his view. “Just as slavery and colonialism were a stain on previous centuries, women’s inequality should shame us all in the …
February 24, 2020 
For the last decade, Western democracies and human-rights defenders have been locked in a tense struggle with authoritarian great powers at the United Nations. Since 2009, Russia and China have waged a highly successful campaign to dismantle the international human-rights system, particularly through the Human Rights Council. The two countries have made strides especially …
January 29, 2020 
President Trump was at the United Nations last fall telling world leaders that “the future does not belong to globalists” when Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the United States House of Representatives would launch an inquiry into his possible impeachment. It was the same General Assembly whose derisive laughter at Trump’s boast a year before …
January 25, 2020 
Kelley Currie
The naming of Jonathan Moore, a senior United States Foreign Service officer, to the position of Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, signals that in the United Nations’ 75th year, the Trump administration is getting serious. The move doesn’t mean that the US is increasing support for the organization, of course, or …
December 5, 2019 
As protection of human rights seems to be sliding everywhere, the international human-rights system has responded by focusing on national implementation, to ensure that states’ international commitments are translated into meaningful changes felt by people on the ground. While often overlooked, parliaments can provide a critical link between global agreements and domestic progress on …
November 17, 2019 
Twenty-three nations, including Britain, the United States, Germany, France and Japan, slammed China at the United Nations recently, citing its persecution of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang province. “We call on the Chinese government to uphold its national laws and international obligations and commitments to respect human rights, including freedom of religion or …
October 2, 2019 
Agnès Callamard
Exactly a year after Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi-born, American-based journalist, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnès Callamard, remains categorical: UN Secretary-General António Guterres can and should do more about the murder, and so should member states. “I am asking the …
July 29, 2019 
After the Senate Foreign Relations Committee just voted to place 13 Trump administration nominees across diverse positions in the State Department, Senate ranking member Robert Menendez is using another nomination as a negotiating chip to demand details on two controversial White House migration pacts with Guatemala and Mexico. Senator Menendez (D-N.J.) is blocking the …
July 7, 2019 
A group of several hundred international human-rights lawyers reacted to a first-person opinion piece published by the United Nations expert on torture that “had a problematic definition of rape,” according to the lawyers’ open letter, published on July 1, expressing their legal views. The exchange between the human-rights experts and proponents and the UN …

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