Category Archives: Human rights

Is the Paris climate accord worded too flexibly?

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced last week that the 2015 Paris climate change accords will, in all likelihood, go into effect this year. These accords commit the U.S. and dozens of other nations to try to lower greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change.

But devising multilateral agreements is painstaking work. Typically, negotiators from hundreds of states deliberate for many years. Any agreement they reach often involves major compromises, which means provisions that experts consider important tend to be watered down

Nowhere is this more apparent than the case of the Paris Climate Change Accords. To break decades of multilateral gridlock on climate change, negotiators followed the mantra don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

But is there a cost to being flexible?

Strong words make treaties more effective. So is the Paris climate accord worded too flexibly?

Katerina Linos and Tom Pegram

Washington Post-The Monkey Cage, 29 September 2016.


Bibliography on national human rights institutions

For all NHRI research hounds, the Asia Pacific Forum (APF) – which serves as a coalition of NHRIs in the region and is the longest-standing regional network of national institutions in the world – has recently launched an impressively exhaustive NHRI bibliography.  The bibliography will continue to be updated, providing an invaluable entry point into the world of NHRI policy and research.  Many thanks to Chris Sidoti, the APF and the various NHRI practitioners and researchers who have contributed to this fantastic resource.


State Restrictions on Civil Society and the Free Flow of Information

On 9 May I participated in a workshop organised by my colleagues Kristin Bakke, Neil Mitchell and Hannah Smidt on State Restrictions of Civil Society and the Free Flow of Information. It was an excellent discussion, bringing activists, journalists practitioners, policy-makers and academics together to share their insights. Hosted by the UCL Global Governance Institute, the event formed part of a series of thematic activities on Global Security, led by our Thematic Director, Kristin Bakke. The event concluded with a keynote with Natalia Taubina, of Public Verdict, a Russian campaigning NGO. I was invited to reflect briefly on the relevance of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) to the thematic. Continue reading State Restrictions on Civil Society and the Free Flow of Information

Climate change – the greatest human rights challenge of our time

Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has recently declared climate to be “the biggest human rights issue in the world”. 13 million deaths could be prevented every year by improving environmental protections.  Despite growing evidence of a direct link between the impacts of climate change and human rights, engagement across these two fields has only just begun.  Recognition of rights has been largely absent within the international negotiations on climate change under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) initiated in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Continue reading Climate change – the greatest human rights challenge of our time

A new human rights architecture for Chile

I have just returned from an express trip to Chile at the invitation of the Chilean Institute of Human Rights (INDH) and the Human Rights Programme at Diego Portales University (UDP) to join them on 12 May for an international conference on the Strengths and Limitations of Human Rights Institutionalization.  We were joined by José Miguel Vivanco, Director of Human Rights Watch Americas, Amerigo Incalcaterra, regional OHCHR representative for the Americas, and many colleagues, observers and practitioners from the human rights community in Chile. Continue reading A new human rights architecture for Chile