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Hello, this is Michelle. Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948, the field of human rights has made strides, with key bodies being created such as the International Criminal Court.

But in the last few decades, the tides have turned, according to one of Geneva’s newcomers. Santiago Cantón recently took the reins of the International Commission of Jurists, one of the oldest human rights organisations. We spoke to the Argentinian jurist about the challenges human rights face in an increasingly polarised world.

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Michelle Langrand


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After spending the last few years in the United States, Santiago Cantón, the Argentinian jurist who recently became the new secretary general of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), will call Geneva his home for the next five years.

The discreet organisation of well-respected judges and lawyers, located in the Paquis neighbourhood and now celebrating its 70th anniversary, is almost as old as the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Born from the ashes of World War II initially to investigate abuses committed in the Soviet part of post-war Germany, the group has made key contributions over the decades to the human rights architecture.

Most notably, they helped push for the creation of an international criminal court and several UN human rights instruments, including the Convention on Enforced Disappearances, first proposed by its then-president Niall MacDermot.

Read the full story on Geneva Solutions (EN)

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