Stories written by Gustavo Capdevila

U.S. Failings Exposed in U.N. Human Rights Review

Without the emperor’s clothes, like in the Hans Christian Andersen story, the United States was forced to submit its human rights record to the scrutiny of the other 192 members of the United Nations on Monday.

U.N. Describes Forced Disappearances in Mexico as “Generalised”

“The U.N. Committee on Enforced Disappearances is not a court, and I say this to avoid any misunderstanding,” German expert Rainer Huhle said while presenting the committee’s recommendations to the government of Mexico, where the problem has reached epidemic proportions.

Glimmer of Hope for Assange

There is a window of hope, thanks to a U.N. human rights body, for a solution to the diplomatic asylum of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in the embassy of Ecuador in London for the past two and a half years.

Q&A: “Some Individuals Are Now as Wealthy as Entire Countries”

As it turns 50, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) finds itself engaged in an ongoing struggle to reduce economic and social inequalities in the world.

UN to Investigate War-Time Atrocities in Sri Lanka

The bloody events that marked the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war between government and Tamil separatist forces will be the focus of an independent international investigation, according to a United Nations Human Rights Council decision.

Thorny Path Toward Syrian Peace Process

The future of the complex armed conflict in Syria, which involves religious and ethnic factors as well as pressures from neighbouring countries and the strategic interests of global powers, will begin to take shape next week at a conference known as “Geneva 2.”

U.S. and EU Frustrate Peasants’ Rights Declaration

Staunch opposition by the U.S. delegation and, to one extent or another, by European countries has blocked the approval this year of a draft multilateral declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, which is backed by the developing world.

WTO Chooses New Latin American Chief to Mark a Change in Course

Brazilian diplomat Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo was named the new director general of the WTO with broad support from the developing world, beating out his Mexican rival Herminio Blanco, who was backed by the industrialised nations.

WTO, Dubious Prize for a Latin American?

The complicated challenge of invigorating the debilitated World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the multilateral trade system that it governs will fall, for the next four years and for the first time ever, to a Latin American.

Q&A: Innovation Key to Sustainable Development Goals

Innovation, as the fruit of science and technology, will play a fundamental role in the Sustainable Development Goals that could go into effect in 2015, says Néstor Osorio, president of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Q&A: A Healthy Verdict from India

India’s refusal to grant patent protection for the anti-cancer drug Glivec, developed by Swiss drugmaker Novartis, is a victory for the developing world, which depends on low-cost exports of generic medicines from the Asian giant, said public health specialist Germán Velásquez.

Uruguayan diplomat Fernando Lugris chairing the Minamata Convention on Mercury negotiations. Credit: Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Uruguay

Q&A: New Binding Treaty on Mercury Emissions is “Ambitious”

The international community has adopted a binding treaty for reducing emissions of mercury, a poisonous heavy metal that harms human health and the ecosystems on which life depends.

Q&A: “Syria Needs a Political Solution with Peace, Justice and an End to Impunity”

The first woman to preside over the United Nations Human Rights Council, Uruguayan diplomat Laura Dupuy, has made it with flying colours through one of the periods of greatest tension and conflict since the council replaced the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in 2006.

Human Rights Education Shows Its Potential

The impact of human rights education, a rising star, is highlighted in a short documentary sponsored by United Nations experts and civil society.

Demonstrators in southern Spanish city of Málaga protesting cuts in health and education. Credit: Inés Benítez/IPS

U.N. Warns of Social Fall-Out from Spain’s Austerity Plan

An expert body of the United Nations has warned the Spanish government that the severe budget cutbacks it is applying must not undermine its commitment to upholding the economic, social and cultural rights of the country's people.

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