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The United States government's decision to "reengage" with the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council is a big step toward the multilateral support for human rights that President Joe Biden promised in his major foreign policy speech.…
Delegates sit at the opening of the 41th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 24, 2019.
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As we approach the last days of the decade, it’s important to reflect on the fight for human rights, the setbacks and successes over the past year in Australia and around the world. Our list isn’t ranked, and far from exhaustive – we…
A Uighur woman picking up school children rides past a picture showing China's President Xi Jinping joining hands with a group of Uighur elders at the Unity New Village in Hotan, in western China's Xinjiang region.
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As members of the UN Security Council debate this week about whether to renew their Syria chemical weapons investigation, they might want to read Wilfred Owen’s World War One poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est.” It describes an attack in which a man…
A poison hazard danger sign is seen in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib province, Syria on April 5, 2017.
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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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Recent reports that the Netherlands is considering accepting some current Guantanamo detainees for resettlement is good news for the detainees and good news for the Netherlands. If the deal goes through it would provide some detainees who have been…
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The candidates may disagree on some human rights issues, but the next president will face challenges that transcend partisan lines. How might tomorrow's presidential election affect U.S. policy on human rights? The common wisdom is that unlike their sharp…
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The U.N. Human Rights Council recently passed a resolution on “traditional values of humankind” as a vehicle for “promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms.” It sounds innocuous, but its implications are ominous. Indeed, it is an immediate threat to…
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Late last week the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah sent a cruel message to the civilian victims of laws-of-war violations during the Gaza conflict: we won't demand justice for your suffering. The message came in the form of a resolution drafted by…
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Letter to Incoming Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Your Excellency, We congratulate you on your appointment to UN secretary-general. Your leadership comes at a time in which the United Nation’s role in human rights has never been more important. As the leader of the UN system and as its chief advocate…
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Seven months after the United Nations General Assembly created a Human Rights Council to replace the much-maligned Commission on Human Rights, the new council already has garnered a level of condemnation that its predecessor took decades to achieve. Much…
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