Category Archives: Human rights

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

Narcotics, criminal violence and human rights in Mexico

I am just coming to the end of a fascinating and sobering three-week stay at Colegio de Mexico (COLMEX), courtesy of the British Academy’s Newton Mobility Grants scheme, to advance research on transnational narcotics governance in collaboration with my colleague Professor Monica Serrano, one of the leading authorities on drug policy in Latin America. As part of the grant, on 14 January we hosted a workshop on the relationship between the International Drug Control Regime and the International Human Rights Regime and its implications for drug policy in Mexico and the region. Continue reading Narcotics, criminal violence and human rights in Mexico

Interrogating form and function: Designing effective national human rights institutions

Katerina Linos and I have published a working paper in the Danish Institute of Human Rights (DIHR) Matters of Concern Human Rights Research Paper Series – a working paper series focusing on new and emerging research on human rights across academic disciplines. The DIHR is one of the oldest NHRIs in the world and has a longstanding reputation for facilitating meaningful dialogue among academic, practitioner and policymaker communities.

The paper, Interrogating Form and Function: Designing Effective National Human Rights Institutions, examines the key question: what institutional features make NHRIs effective? It departs from the conventional assumption that formal design matters and speaks Continue reading Interrogating form and function: Designing effective national human rights institutions

The effects of international human rights soft law

Katerina Linos and I have just finished putting the final touches to our paper ‘The Language of Compromise in International Agreements’ and we’re excited about its journal publication shortly. We hope it will make a significant contribution to debates surrounding international law, organizations and human rights. Using an original dataset from the 1991 Paris Principles on the Design of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in addition to several sources of qualitative evidence, we find that the degree of flexibility in soft law agreement language influences state behaviour. Continue reading The effects of international human rights soft law