NGOs Seek to Embed Rights Standards in Machine Learning

July 11, 2018

A coalition of nongovernmental organizations has signed onto a “Toronto Declaration” that sets out human rights standards for machine-learning systems, particularly focused on requiring companies to ensure that such systems “respect the principles of equality and non-discrimination” and offer remedies to victims of alleged discrimination.

UN Agents Critique Austrian Focus on Political Islam

July 11, 2018

The UN Working Group on Mercenaries has called on Austria to avoid an “excessive” focus on punishing individuals who travel abroad to join and fight with terrorist groups and on combating political Islam as an ideology, instead emphasizing a need to “address the root causes of radicalisation and violent extremism” in a comprehensive manner.

UN Poverty Report Provokes Questions on Underlying Data

July 11, 2018

George Russell examines how a recent report from UN human rights mandate holder Philip Alston blaming economic inequality in the US on regressive government measures and “persistent and chronic racial bias” overlooks data on declining poverty rates and is based on input from activist groups that oppose policies of the Trump Administration.

UK Leader Triggers Blowback over “Common Rulebook” Plan

July 11, 2018

The BBC reports that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has divided her Conservative Party by adopting a Brexit negotiating position that would see the UK maintain a “common rulebook” with the EU, prompting resignations from her cabinet and critiques that such a plan would straitjacket UK trade policy.

 

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  • UNHRC Debate Links SDGs to Rights Agenda

    July 13, 2018

    The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) hosted a discussion at its recent session on how governments must enhance their cooperation on fulfilling the global human rights agenda to contribute to the achievement of the UN’s comprehensive social and environmental targets contained in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

     
  • Amnesty Shifts Global Policies on Abortion, Drug Control

    July 13, 2018

    Delegates to Amnesty International’s recent Global Assembly in Warsaw updated the activist organization’s positions on abortion and drug control, aiming to promote government policies that “guarantee access to safe and legal abortion in a broad way” and to end “heavy-handed criminalisation” in the enforcement of drug laws.

     
  • NGO: UN Compact Must Reduce Detention of Migrant Families

    July 13, 2018

    Amnesty International has published a press release calling on world leaders negotiating a Global Compact on Migration at the UN to agree a “zero-tolerance” approach toward detention of child migrants and a legal presumption against the detention of families on immigration-related grounds.

     
 
  • UNICEF Publishes Corporate Toolkit for Child “Safeguarding”

    July 13, 2018

    The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has published a global “toolkit” guiding companies on adherence to global human rights obligations pertaining to children and discussing how companies must “ensure children do not come to harm as a result of any direct or indirect contact” with their operations.

     
  • UK Committee Investigates Impacts of Fashion Industry

    July 13, 2018

    The UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee has launched an investigation of the fashion industry, with a particular focus on disposable “fast fashion,” to determine whether Britain should subject the industry to increased regulatory scrutiny regarding labor rights and environmental harm.

     
  • UN Agents Seek Trade, Finance Push to Advance BHR Agenda

    July 13, 2018

    At a recent session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Chair of the UN Working Group on business and human rights (BHR) issues presented a report on how governments should pressure corporations to implement the BHR agenda by threatening to cut off non-complying companies from support under states’ trade promotion and finance policies.

     
 
  • EC Challenges Polish Law on Judges’ Retirement

    July 13, 2018

    The European Commission (EC) has launched legal proceedings challenging a recently passed Polish law lowering the mandatory retirement age of judges on the country’s Supreme Court from 70 to 65, while giving the President the opportunity to extend their terms, on the ground that the law is a threat to judicial independence.

     
  • Article: Poor External Border Security Threatens Schengen

    July 13, 2018

    An article in The Economist considers the roots of the ongoing migration crisis in Europe as a function of European leaders who established the passport-free Schengen travel area and were only “dimly aware that eliminating internal borders required strengthening external ones.”

     
  • EU Parliament Rejects Proposed Copyright Reforms

    July 13, 2018

    Politico reports that the European Parliament has rejected a proposal that would have required internet companies like Facebook and Google to step up their enforcement of EU copyright rules on their platforms and would have granted copyright license holders more power to enforce their rights against encroachment in online fora.

     
 
  • UN Chief: Counter-Terrorism Efforts Must Focus on Rights

    July 13, 2018

    At a conference marking Counter-Terrorism Week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres discussed ways in which the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism would consider input from nongovernmental organizations on guiding countries to uphold their global human rights obligations while they combat terrorism.

     
  • UN Official: Europe Is Facing No “Refugee Crisis”

    July 13, 2018

    UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has called for the debunking of claims that Europe is experiencing any sort of “refugee crisis” caused by migrants from North Africa or the Middle East, arguing that the true crisis is present in other regions.

     
  • UN Official: Prevent Extremism Through “Citizenship Education”

    July 13, 2018

    At a recent event hosted by the Institute of International Education, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education Stefania Giannini emphasized how national policymakers could use the UN body’s Global Citizenship Education agenda to prevent violent extremism and counter radicalization among students across the globe.