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Good morning, this is Michelle. After two years of the war in Ukraine and evidence of serious crimes piling up, the wheels of justice are turning too slowly for law expert Andrew Clapham.

As the Human Rights Council enters its second week, here are the top highlights. We've also selected a couple of events worth checking out since it's International Women’s Day on Friday.

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Michelle Langrand


On our radar

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Andrew Clapham, author of War and professor of international law at the Geneva Graduate Institute. (Magali Dougados for Le Temps)

Andrew Clapham: International justice too slow on Ukraine war crimes. The author of the book War and professor of international law at the Geneva Graduate Institute deplores the slow pace at which crimes committed in Ukraine are being prosecuted. He warns of the inconsistency in the west’s approach to Gaza.

Geneva Solutions

What to watch this week (at the Human Rights Council)

📣Tell it like it is. This morning, UN rights chief Volker Türk will try to sum up in one speech how he views the global state of human rights. Just by looking at some of the reports on Sudan, Afghanistan, Nicaragua and the Occupied Palestinian Territories from last week, we can predict that it must be a hard task.

🤑The flip side. Climate litigation has gained traction in recent years, successfully securing more robust environmental legislation. But investors are not just sitting idly by as they see their revenue streams threatened, according to a report slated for Wednesday. In it, UN environment expert David Boyd warns that states are having to pay fossil fuel firms and others excessive amounts of money sought through murky arbitration processes.

🙏Losing my religion. Tensions between religious offence and freedom of speech will be palpable this week as states discuss a report on religious hatred following a visit to Sweden, where the burning of a Quran last year led to a Muslim-state-led proposal to convene a panel discussion on the issue, despite opposition from the US and the EU. The debate will be held on Friday.

🎣Fishers’ rights. A UN-backed report will zoom into the challenges faced by small-scale fishers as overexploitation, climate change and pollution wreck the marine ecosystems they depend on to live. UN right to food expert Michael Fakhri, the author, has often been critical of the WTO-backed trade system and the burden it places on poor people. His views on the trade body's fisheries subsidies deal, which underwent additional talks last week, are no different.

⚥Cultural clashes ahead. As ambassadors begin consultations this week on draft resolutions they hope to adopt by next month, one to keep an eye on is a new initiative on discrimination against intersex people, an issue very few countries have legislated on. A bold move, according to Universal Rights Group director Marc Limon, who predicted at our talk last week (rewatch here) that like many other gender rights issues, it is bound to face resistance from the more conservative members.

He notes growing discomfort at what they see as the west is imposing its progressive views on issues that are still too sensitive back at home. Leading the charge are Finland, South Africa and Chile, a cross-regional group that perhaps may be able to get their counterparts to coalesce around a balanced proposal.

Also on the agenda

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