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Looking Behind the UN Youth Office: Considering Structural Limitations of Youth Participation After the Party

Last month, the UN General Assembly decided “to establish the United Nations Youth Office as a dedicated office for youth affairs in the Secretariat” (op. para. 1). While the new office was met with general praise, it is important to understand this development in a broader context of international law’s engagement with youth. Pointing to structural limitations, I argue in this blogpost that enthusiasts should be cautious. Youth participation in international law will remain what is always has been: a continuous struggle. A Brief Appraisal Resolution 76/306 is remarkable in at least three aspects. A central aim of the resolution is enhancing the structure or the architecture of youth participation. The UN General Assembly acknowledges “the proposal of the Secretary-General to establish a dedicated United Nations Youth Office in the Secretariat to ensure that the voices of youth are more systematically integrated across the United Nations system” (preamb. para. 5). As part of this, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, an office established by former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon…

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Ireland’s Birth Information and Tracing Act: Reconciling the Right to Identity

Introduction On the 30th of June 2022 Ireland enacted the Birth Information and Tracing Act – legislation which for the first time in Irish history enshrines a ‘clear right to full birth, early life, care and medical information for all those with questions on their origins’. When the law comes into force on October…

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‘Biased’, ‘Selective’, ‘Antisemitic’: Accusations against the UN Commission of Inquiry on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Last week UN independent expert Miloon Kothari publicly questioned why Israel is a UN member and accused Jews of controlling social media, which is a long-recognised antisemitic trope. These are two separate but interlinked issues: firstly anti-Israel bias, and secondly antisemitism. In an interview with Mondoweiss Kothari stated: “I would…

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New Rules of Procedure of the Ad Hoc Conciliation Commission in Palestine v Israel

The inter-State procedure under Articles 11-13 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) lay dormant for over 50 years before its activation in March-April 2018 in three inter-State communications, Qatar v Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2018), Qatar v United Arab Emirates (2018) and Palestine v Israel (2018). These were the first three…

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Is There a Legal Duty to Cooperate in Implementing Western Sanctions on Russia?

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States, Europe and other allies imposed sanctions on Russia for violating the prohibition against the use of force, a peremptory norm owed to the international community as a whole. While the ability of these sanctions per se to put a swift end to Russia’s invasion has been doubted (see…

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