Canada Creates Investigator for "Responsible Enterprise"

January 17, 2018

The Canadian government has announced the establishment of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, an independent official who will investigate and recommend remedies for allegations of human rights abuses in the foreign activities of Canadian corporations in an expanding range of sectors.

EU Group Considers Measures Against "Fake News"

January 17, 2018

The Associated Press reports that the European Commission's High-Level Group on identifying and addressing so-called "fake news" in Europe, with members from civil society, internet companies, the media, and academia, held its first meeting this week and will issue recommendations in April on how to combat the phenomenon.

EU Members Seek Status Quo Brexit Transition

January 17, 2018

The Independent reports that, according to draft negotiating directives from EU member states to the European Commission's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, the EU governments are calling for a post-Brexit transition arrangement with the UK that maintains free movement between the EU and UK and requires EU approval of any British free trade deals.

IACHR Recognizes Right to Same-Sex Marriage

January 17, 2018

The BBC reports that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), an arm of the Organization of American States that issues rulings on human rights issues in the region, has ruled that its members must recognize a right of same-sex couples to marry and rejected the establishment of a separate legal regime governing same-sex relationships.


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  • Commission Warns US on Deportation of El Salvadoreans

    January 22, 2018

    Telesur reports that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has warned that the US could be violating its international human rights obligations by following through with the Trump Administration's decision to revoke Temporary Protected Status for thousands of El Salvadoreans who came to the US after two powerful earthquakes in their home country in 2001.

  • Academic Seeks More Flexible Methods of Rights Enforcement

    January 22, 2018

    Professor Alexander Betts of the University of Oxford argues that the UN system has become "toothless" in an increasingly "illiberal" world and that civil society and governments must invent new, "adaptive" ways to bypass the traditional methods of human rights blaming-and-shaming to hold countries to account for their abuses.

  • UN Agencies Fight Health Effects of Global Warming

    January 19, 2018

    The UN Environment Programme and the World Health Organization have launched a partnership for combating "environmental health risks," including health threats from climate change and "food and nutrition issues."

  • World Bank Launches Sustainable Development Bond

    January 19, 2018

    Further highlighting its embrace of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a key element of its funding model, the World Bank has issued a Sustainable Development Bond worth over one billion Canadian dollars with the aim of "advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women."

  • New York City Files Climate Suit Against Energy Companies

    January 19, 2018

    The Washington Post reports that the government of New York City has filed a federal lawsuit against the five largest publicly traded oil companies in the world for compensation related to the current and future impacts of global warming and has announced its public pension plans will divest up to $5 billion from companies with ties to fossil fuels.

  • Exxon Threatens Municipalities with Climate Countersuit

    January 18, 2018

    CNN reports that Exxon has accused a group of cities and countries in California suing the energy company over its alleged contributions to global warming of bad faith, given the statements made by some of these municipalities in their bond offerings on the uncertainties involved in climate change, and requested to depose city officials in a move toward a countersuit.

  • UK Business Group Pushes to Remain in EU Customs Union

    January 22, 2018

    Bloomberg reports that Director General of the Confederation of British Industry Carolyn Fairbairn has called for the UK government to negotiate a Brexit deal that would keep Britain within the EU customs union, meaning the UK could not negotiate separate free trade deals with countries outside the bloc.

  • EU Parliament Seeks Stricter Standards on Energy

    January 19, 2018

    Nature reports that the European Parliament has passed legislation pushing EU countries to obtain 35 percent of their energy from renewable sources by the year 2030 and raising a legally binding target for energy efficiency in buildings and in consumer goods after 2021.

  • EU Task Force Explores Subsidiarity, Proportionality

    January 19, 2018

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has appointed members to an EU Task Force on "Subsidiarity, Proportionality and 'Doing Less More Efficiently'" to identify what projects "could be devolved or definitely returned to Member States" and in which areas EU officials could cooperate more effectively with national or local officials.

  • Sharia Law Leads to Public Lashings in Indonesia

    January 22, 2018

    Local authorities in Indonesia’s autonomous Aceh Province, which imposes strict sharia law, publicly flogged, among others, a Christian man for selling alcohol on Fridays and an unmarried couple for sitting close to one another, as the country with the world’s largest Muslim population shows signs of increasing pressure from Islamist fundamentalist forces.

  • Unresolved IS Promises Portend More Mideast Violence

    January 22, 2018

    Some experts on the Islamic State (IS) explain the group’s appeal in the Mideast as a function of popular hopes for dignity and development through Salafist utopian promises and warn that IS’s failure to deliver on those promises will create opportunities for new, radical, nihilist Islamist and secularist movements in the region.

  • Iraqi Court Sentences German IS Fighter to Death

    January 22, 2018

    Iraqi courts meted out a death sentence to a German female foreign fighter for the Islamic State (IS) as part of the Iraqi government’s wholesale roundup of suspected foreign jihadists who came to Iraq to support the fight for the caliphate.