Human Rights Council

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What’s wrong with this picture? The UN Human Rights Council hears the military Junta as the legitimate government of Myanmar

Introduction to the representation issue A few weeks ago, on 26 February 2021, Rebecca Barber wrote a piece in EJIL:Talk! asking whether the UN General Assembly could exclude Myanmar by refusing “to recognise the credentials of its ruling military Junta?” Quite correctly she answered with a resounding “YES”. This piece will continue the focus on the representation of Myanmar issue, recounting the episode in the Human Rights Council in early March when the representative of the military regime spoke as the legitimate representative of Myanmar without objection or comment. Suggestions will be made how to avoid repeating that error in future. The Security Council was the first intergovernmental UN body to react to the state of emergency declaration by the military on 1 February. The President of the UN Security Council (SecCo) issued a press statement three days later, in which members of the SecCo expressed “deep concern” at the “arbitrary detention of members of the Government, including State Counsellor … and President … and others” and called “for their…

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Black Lives Matter and the UN Human Rights System: Reflections on the Human Rights Council Urgent Debate

The protests against the police killings of George Floyd and many other Black people in the United States catalyzed a transnational movement. Around the world, people mobilized to express solidarity with protesters in the United States while also challenging U.S. imperialism, as well as systemic racism, colonialism, and police brutality in their…

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SDG Report 2020: The Civil, Political, Economic, Social, Cultural, and Development Rights Crises Deepening in the Global South

The United Nations recently released its Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020, and the results are expectedly grim during this global pandemic.  Not only has the world fallen well off track from Agenda 2030 objectives - including the eradication of poverty - but the deepening inequalities within the Global South augur even worse outcomes for the most vulnerable populations on…

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The Internationalisation of Black Lives Matter at the Human Rights Council

‘Black Lives Matter’ resonated at the Human Rights Council on 17 June during the urgent debate on the ‘current racially inspired human rights violations, systemic racism, police brutality and violence against peaceful protests’. The stirring words of Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, the speech of Michelle Bachelet, the UN…

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The Myth and Mayhem of ‘Build Back Better’: Human Rights Decision-Making and Human Dignity Imperatives in COVID-19

Human rights were already under siege everywhere around the world before COVID-19.  But there is also a dawning race now against reaching the ‘twilight of human rights law’, due to: 1) authoritarian regimes’ dismissal of the relevance of human rights while using this pandemic to expand and consolidate their power, such as to silence speech,…

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