Human Rights - New York
Death penalty in AfricaOpening statement by the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Mr. Ivan Šimonović, at the OHCHR/African Union Global Panel: “Moving away from the death penalty – Lessons from the African experience”, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 11 November 2015
High Commissioner at the UN General AssemblyStatement by Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the plenary of the Third Committee, at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, 21 October 2015
Reports on South-Sudan and Boko Haram at Human Rights CouncilAddress by Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, to the 30th Session of the Human Rights Council, introducing country reports of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner, on human rights situation in South Sudan and on human rights violations by Boko Haram, Geneva, 30 September 2015
Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism. Launch of the Strong Cities NetworkDelivering the keynote speech at the launch of a Strong Cities Network as part of an event on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism, the High Commissioner said " Today'shorrific crises are the grimmest kind of parable of what may occur when human rights, for generations, are ground down by the contempt of officialdom. " To attempt to fight violent extremism through masssurveillance, discriminatory policing, crackdowns, torture, abusive prosecutions, widespread use of the death penalty and ever-larger prisons "is, if you will permit me to quote a pop song, like putting out fire with gasoline."
High-level side event on Migration in the new development agendaIn today’s dramatic and precarious migration flows, movement is rarely ‘voluntary’ in the true sense of that term, the High Commissioner said. “Refugees fleeing persecution and conflict journey together with migrants fleeing poverty, discrimination and despair. They are not two different kinds of people; ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’. They are all human beings.”
Trygve Lie Symposium on Fundamental Freedoms In the voices of grass-roots civil society activists and human rights defenders, “we hear what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims: ‘The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government’,” the High Commissioner said. “Their message is that government is a responsibility: those who are mandated to exercise power have the duty to promote the well-being and the dignity of the people whom they serve. Their voices tell us: we, the people, are sovereign. We have the right to share ideas, to criticise, and to join with others to participate in decisions about our future. This is not only a matter of principle and law, but a very deeply practical improvement. When people can share ideas to overcome common problems – and in many areas, they do – the result is a better, more healthy, more secure and more sustainable State.”
Moving away from the Death Penalty: The voices of victims’ families”“The 70 years since the United Nations came to life have seen a remarkable shift in the death penalty,” the High Commissioner said. “Then, only 14 countries had abolished the practise. Currently, 82% of Member States have either abolished it or introduced moratoria”. He also noted that “many murder victims’ families believe that responding to one killing with another does not honor the victim” and feel that the death penalty would harm their hopes of recovering from their loss.
High Level Ministerial breakfast “A Fairer Future For All: Fighting Inequalities and discrimination”The 2030 Agenda gives us “the opportunity to create the kind of world we want,” the High Commissioner said. But policy plans will not be enough: we also need to scrupulously monitor progress, with indicators and data disaggregation, to monitor our progress in dismantling all grounds of discrimination prohibited under international human rights law. And perhaps most importantly, the new agenda must include incentives for progress and accountability in case of failure to deliver.
Tackling inequalities, empowering women and girls and leaving no one behindExtreme inequalities – between social, ethnic or other population groups, between social classes, or between countries – are “divisive and socially corrosive”, the High Commissioner told a roundtable at the Summit for Sustainable Development. “They breed economic instability, social unrest and sometimes violent conflict. If we do nothing to address them, sustainable development will never be achieved.”
Freedom of Religion or BeliefKeynote speech by Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights at the International Parliamentarian Panel on Freedom of Religion or Belief, New York, 18 September 2015
Counter-TerrorismStatement by Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, at the event to mark the 10-year anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution 1624 (2005) on counter-terrorism
HC statement at Security Council briefing on The Situation In Burundi 9 JulyIn Burundi, the High Commissioner told the Security Council, an "escalating pattern of politically motivated violence", coupled with a history of recurring bloodshed and atrocities, should alert the international community to the potential for serious crisis. "Already more than 145,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, and this movement has increased drastically in recent days. As they pack the few belongings they can carry, and abandon their lands and homes, what the people of Burundi are telling us is that they fear their country is on the brink of devastating violence. The risk to human life, and to regional stability and development, is high."
Remarks to the Security Council meeting on Bosnia and Herzegovina (Srebrenica)Speaking to the Security Council, the High Commissioner pieced together some of the key events that led up to the terrible massacre of 8000 hors de combat men and boys in Srebrenica, 20 years ago.The deeper lessons for the UN remain extremely relevant today, he said. They include an inability to anticipate events and timidity. "So long as there is no respect for the UN, it will be likely that further massacres will be perpetrated," he stated. "At the very least, if the UN is to make good on its commitment to protect civilians, it must be resolute, undivided and clear about its intention."
Rights of migrants - meeting of States Parties to ICMWOpening Statement by Mr. Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the Seventh Meeting of States Parties to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, New York, 30 June 2015
Media freedom and safety of journalistsStatement by Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, at the Conference on Journalists' Safety, Media Freedom and Pluralism in Times of Conflict, Vienna, 15 June 2015
The human cost of small arms and light weaponry At the Security Council, the High Commissioner said small arms "are the weapons of the easy kill: the most portable, most easily accessible, most casual instruments of death... If they were to reflect reality more closely, the silhouettes used for target practice would not then be menacing gunmen, but terrified people hiding under tables, or cowering in the corners of dark rooms with their families, or lying face down in a ditch".
Optional Protocol to the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural RightsAt an event organised by the Group of Friends of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the High Commissioner said that thanks to the Optional Protocol, “Individuals can now seek out justice for violations of their rights enshrined in both Covenants. And this recognition that the individual is entitled to claim rights is rich with hope”.
South SudanIntroductory remarks at the Spokesperson’s noon briefing, 9 February 2015, by the Assistant Secretary-General Ivan Šimonović, on his human rights mission to South Sudan
Human rights and election standardsOpening Remarks by ASG Ivan Šimonović at The Carter Center’s Conference on Human Rights and Election Standards, 11 February, Atlanta
Security Council meeting on human rights in DPRKStatement to the Security Council on the Situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, by Ivan Šimonović,
Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, New York, 22 December 2014
Zeid addresses UN General AssemblyHigh Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein addresses the UN General Assembly in New York about key human rights challenges, the importance of defending human rights defenders and the crucial need to adequately fund the work of the UN Human Rights Office.
Human Rights in UkraineStatement by the Assistant Secretary-General Ivan Šimonović at the event at International Peace Institute, New York, 18 June 2014, on the situation in Ukraine
Mission to UkraineUN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic speaks to the press during his visit to Kyiv, Donetsk and Odessa in Ukraine, where he is meeting with Government, civil society and the Ombudsperson.
High Level Event on the Death PenaltyStatement by Ms. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the High Level Event at the 68th Session of the General Assembly, New York, 27 September 2013
Economic, Social and Cultural RightsStatement delivered by Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović, at the deposit by Uruguay of the 10th ratification instrument of the Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Protection of civiliansNavi Pillay address to the UN Security Council debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. Pillay highlights key examples from specific country situations to illustrate practical ways in which the protection of civilians can be strengthened.
Pillay / SyriaAssistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović addresses the UN General Assembly on the human rights situation in Syria, urging a peaceful resolution to the violence.
OHCHR in New York
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OHCHR in New York
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