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Hello, this is Kasmira. As temperatures rose to record this month, so did tensions at the Human Rights Council’s most recent session, where a resolution to extend the mandate of UN experts on LGBTQI+ rights was approved – an important win in the fight for equality – but not without fierce resistance by certain states.

The acrimonious talks are also a reminder that at a time of heightened geopolitical tensions when the world is facing multiple crises, “we must find peaceful solutions” as the UN’s director general in Geneva, Tatiana Valovaya, told us in an interview this month. “If we want to find real global solutions, these solutions can be only multilateral ones,” the Russian diplomat said.

This was also echoed by the new Brazilian chair of autonomous weapons talks, which took place in Geneva this week. The thorny issue of how to regulate this next generation of weapons with potentially fatal consequences has been dividing countries for several years and serves as “a good test case for the relevance of multilateralism”, ambassador Damico told us. You can read other highlights from July below.

photo journaliste

Kasmira Jefford


What happened this month

The must-reads

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(UN Photo by Violaine Martin, 2020)

🇺🇳Tatiana Valovaya, director general of the UN in Geneva: ‘I only believe in peaceful solutions’. Appointed in 2019 by the UN’s top boss Antonio Guterres to run the organisation’s European headquarters, the Russian diplomat, economist and former journalist gives her first interview since the war in Ukraine began. She gives her account of the current global situation and role of international Geneva in helping to find solutions to the current crises.

Kasmira Jefford (EN)

⏱️Who will succeed Bachelet as UN human rights chief? After Michelle Bachelet’s announcement that she would not seek a second term as UN high commissioner for human rights, the race is on in New York and Geneva to find a suitable successor to replace her this month. Whoever is chosen to lead the office in Geneva for the next four years will have to face unprecedented challenges.

Michelle Langrand (EN)

International Justice Corner

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People react outside Stockholm District Court following the sentencing of Hamid Noury to lifetime in prison for his involvement in the 1988 mass killings of political prisoners in Iran. (Credit: Keystone/TT News Agency/Chris Anderson)

🕵️International criminal hunt monthly round-up. An ex-Iranian official was sentenced by Swedish court last month, marking the first time anyone has faced trial over mass executions that took place at a prison in Tehran in 1988 under the rule of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Plus, other important developments on crimes committed in Ukraine, Rwanda, Central African Republic, and Sri Lanka, in this month’s war crimes round-up.

Clara Guldimann (EN)

Opinion of the month

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🖊️'Accountability for human rights atrocities, starts with addressing the legacy of the past'. The quest for accountability for gross human rights violations and abuses including torture, rape and killings, are among the most complex and sensitive issues facing conflict-affected societies, says Rita French, Britain’s ambassador for human rights, writing for Geneva Solutions. Tragically, truth, justice and accountability takes years, often decades, to achieve. But it is only through addressing the legacy of past atrocities and ending impunity that communities can gain closure and truly move forward.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Solution of the month

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Arthur Valkieser (left), CEO, and Sabine Stuiver (right), CMO, of Hydraloop accept their award at the WIPO Global Awards. (Credit: WIPO/Berrod).

🚰 Giving wastewater a second life. Whether from climate change impacts, pollution or overpopulation, much of the world does not have adequate access to fresh water. Even in places where access to clean water exists, the systems in place are not sustainable. Hydraloop, a start-up from the Netherlands, has developed a solution to reduce and recycle household water waste. The company was one of five winners in the first-ever World Intellectual Property (WIPO) Global Awards, held in Geneva last month.The awards ceremony celebrated solutions focusing on economic, social and cultural progress, with an emphasis on intellectual property rights. Liv Martin

Liv Martin (EN)

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