This week’s hot links include International Human Rights Day, climate change, populism and Sustainable Development Goals 1, 10 and 13.

14 Dec

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day. Writing for The Guardian, Iva Dobichina and James Savage from the Open Society Foundations, Fund for Global Human Rights, discuss how human rights defences are more important than ever before. “In 2018 we will mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which recognises the role and guarantees the rights of those who promote and protect human rights. But despite the declaration, the settings in which defenders work are becoming more contested and volatile – not less. Around the globe, a tectonic shift towards autocratic and semi-authoritarian rule by law, and the pernicious influence of corporate, criminal and fundamentalist non-state actors, has put human rights activists on the defensive and let rights violators go on the offence.” The Elders marked the day with a quiz to bring attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard for all peoples and all nations ‘Do you actually know your human rights?’


Writing for the Overseas Development Institute, researchers Emily Wilkinson, Lisa Schipper, Catherine Simonet and Zaneta Kubik explore Climate change, migration and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This briefing looks at the anticipated impacts of climate-induced migration on efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on climate change – SDG13. More specifically, this briefing describes the SDG targets relating to climate change, and the particular challenges to each in the context of increasing climate-induced migration. Climate change and disasters are, and will continue to be, major drivers of migration and displacement. Key findings include; climate change and disasters are, and will continue to be, major drivers of migration and displacement. For those who are forced to move internationally, bilateral agreements and international frameworks must protect their rights. View the briefing here.

On Sunday December 4, 74 per cent of Austrians went to the polls to cast their vote in a re-run of the second round of presidential elections. Gustav Gressel, Senior Policy Fellow at European Council on Foreign Relations comments on the recent election stating that the “result will do little to halt the populist surge in Europe.” Gressel suggests that “The high turnout – one of the largest in decades in Austrian national elections – was key for the victory of former Green party leader Alexander van der Bellen over his rival Norbert Hofer of the populist Freedom party. While Hofer’s electorate stayed more or less constant in numbers, Van der Bellen was able to mobilise more undecided and centrist voters for him this time round.” For more analysis, read the full blog here.

Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Director of the Global Economic Governance Program at the University of Oxford, writing for Project Syndicate examines nativism populist movements in The New Xenophobia. “Democratic governments in the West are increasingly losing their bearings. From the shift toward illiberalism in Poland and Hungary to the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and Donald Trump’s victory in the United States’ presidential election, a particularly lethal strain of populism is infecting societies – and it is spreading.” Woods outlines that “The threat posed by the new xenophobia should not be underestimated. Today, no less than in the past, the rejection of diversity is tantamount to the rejection of democracy. That is why it must be defended, before its opponents gain any more ground.”

Taking on Inequality. The latest publication from The World Bank: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development examines poverty and shared prosperity globally in 2016. “…today we face a powerful threat to progress around the world: Inequality. High income inequality is hardly new in human history. But today, inequality is constraining national economies and destabilizing global collaboration in ways that put humanity’s most critical achievements and aspirations at risk. This includes the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.” On April 20, 2013, the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank adopted two ambitious goals: end global extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in every country in a sustainable way. These two goals are part of a wider international development agenda and are intimately related to United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 10, respectively, which have been adopted by the global community. “Each goal has an intrinsic value on its own merits, but the two goals are also highly complementary.”

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