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How we make a difference 2016


Towards an in-depth justice reform in Guatemala
Guatemala has embarked in an unprecedented justice reform. The objective: guarantee a fully independent and effective judiciary, and preserve the achievements in the fight against corruption and impunity.
29-07-2016
“Take action! Being silent is dangerous.”
Charlene Apok believes there are many obstacles facing indigenous peoples when they try to advocate for their rights at an international level. “This system was not made for us,” she said. Apok, a member of the Iñupiaq tribe in the USA, was a recent UN Human Rights Office Indigenous Fellow.
28-07-2016
Tragedy of Afghan casualties laid bare in UN report
A record number of civilians were killed or maimed in Afghanistan in the first half of this year – a third of them children.
25-07-2016
Migrants cling to dreams as they await uncertain future
“I ask that God helps me to go to school.” UN Human Rights Office monitoring mission hears stories of despair and hope from migrants in Italy waiting to see what will happen to them.
25-07-2016
Activists focus on health as a human right for indigenous peoples
Indigenous communities across the globe are facing a health care crisis, where the lack of access to health care has resulted in a rise in illnesses and even suicides. “It’s an epidemic facing so many indigenous communities,” said Dr. Hannah McGlade, Senior Indigenous Fellow for the UN Human Rights Office.
22-07-2016
Equality law empowers Moldovans to fight discrimination
The Equality Law in the Republic of Moldova provides protection from discrimination for every person living in Moldova. A woman shares her story on how this law was an instrumental tool for her and her son.
21-07-2016
Zeid's visit to DRC
High Commissioner Zeid has just ended a four-day visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo
21-07-2016
Turkey: do not turn back the clock on human rights
High Commissioner Zeid calls on Turkish authorities to respond to the attempted coup by reinforcing the protection of human rights and by strengthening democratic institutions.
20-07-2016
Security at forefront as Italian island receives migrants
The arrival of migrants at the “hotspot” on the Italian island of Lampedusa highlights the need to protect the human rights of often traumatised people.
18-07-2016
At least 200,000 civilians trapped in three Syrian towns
High Commissioner Zeid rings the alarm about the increasingly desperate situation of at least 200,000 civilians trapped in three towns in Syria.
15-07-2016
Ukraine: UN report on killings highlights “rampant impunity”
A new UN report describes the widespread killings that have taken place in Ukraine since January 2014 and highlights the very limited accountability that has taken place.
14-07-2016
Muslim community thriving in Moldova
The Human Rights Council, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, played a major role in the Moldovan registration of the Islamic League of Moldova in 2011. Today, Moldovan Muslims can practice their religion without fear.
08-07-2016
“We don’t need more speeches, we need justice”
“It is time for the world to see our wounds,” said Nadia Murad, Yazidi activist. Murad, who escaped slavery from ISIS, was speaking during the event “They came to Destroy: ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis” which took place during the Human Rights Council.
05-07-2016
Panel: Sports natural conduit to promote human rights
“I have been an athlete since I was five-years-old, and I have played on the Greek Olympic water polo team for 15 years,” said Stavroula Kozompoli, an Olympic silver medallist. “I strongly believe that Olympic values and the sport (in general) can impact human rights and have a great positive influence.”
01-07-2016
Too long a wait for peace and justice - Commission of Inquiry
The Commission of Inquiry on Syria urges parties to commit to a political solution to the conflict, and following a finding that ISIS is committing genocide in Syria, again calls upon the UN Security Council to refer the situation to international criminal justice.
01-07-2016
Increased use of private security providers need closer monitoring
States need clearer guidelines and accountability mechanisms when it comes to managing private security providers, Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
27-06-2016
The UN Fund stands with victims of torture on 26 June
On 26 June, experts say no to torture and yes to the rights and needs of victims.
24-06-2016
“A struggle between tolerance and intolerance”
A UN rights expert explores various forms of fundamentalism and their impact on the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
23-06-2016
Expert urges States to invest in the health and resilience of adolescents
UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health Dainius Pūras has called on States to decriminalize abortion, close adolescent drug detention facilities and to provide better mental health for teens, in a wide ranging report on health presented during the Human Rights Council.
21-06-2016
Taking stock of the Human Rights Council at 10
Former presidents assess a decade of the Human Rights Council during a discussion on the 10th Anniversary of the Human Rights Council. The event was moderated by UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore.
15-06-2016
Gun control in USA
“The ready availability of guns leaves little space between murderous impulses and actions that result in death," High Commissioner Zeid says, urging robust gun control.
14-06-2016
Hate is being mainstreamed - global update by the High Commissioner
In a wide-ranging update to the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner detailed concerns in more than 50 countries and situations, and outlined ways the Office can assist.
13-06-2016
UN Sustainable Development Goals to better serve the rights of women and girls
UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore (pictured on stage with actress Jessica Biel) urged participants at the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen to continue to agitate and push for human rights for women and girls.
10-06-2016
United Nations inquiry finds crimes against humanity in Eritrea
Crimes against humanity have been committed in a widespread and systematic manner in Eritrean detention facilities, military training camps and other locations across the country over the past 25 years, according to a new report by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea.
08-06-2016
Fear in Eritrea
A new report released by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea features chilling accounts of human rights violations that amount to crimes against humanity.
08-06-2016
A story of resilience: From torture victim to therapist
Chilean torture survivor and leading neuropsychiatrist Jorge Barudy works with refugees and victims of torture through his award winning center EXIL.
31-05-2016
Championing the health and human rights of women, teens, and children
The UN Human Rights Office and the World Health Organization establish a landmark working group of global champions on protecting and promoting the health and human rights of women, children, and adolescents.
27-05-2016
Increasing violence plagues Kenya protests
We urge Kenyan authorities to ensure the right to peaceful assembly, after at least three people are believed to have been killed this week.
25-05-2016
Film on fair housing features international human rights law
A new film highlights the case of Seljatin Burgazi and 60 other Roma families, who were saved from eviction through the use of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
20-05-2016
Human rights need protection during humanitarian crises
In Liberia the UN Human Rights Office led an initiative to ensure people’s rights were protected during the Ebola crisis. This initiative and the cross-cutting work of the Office during humanitarian crises will be showcased at the World Humanitarian Summit, taking place from 23-24 May in Istanbul, Turkey.
20-05-2016
Why we fight: campaigning for LGBT Equality
To bring attention to the fight against discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex people across the world, the United Nations Human Rights Office has commissioned “Why we Fight” a film showcasing why people choose to stand up against LGBT discrimination.
17-05-2016
Migrant children face grim human rights conditions in Greece
During a recent monitoring mission on the situation of migrants and refugees in Greece, the UN Human Rights Office met with migrant children and found serious violations to their human rights.
13-05-2016
Australia: the rights of two deaf citizens violated
The Australian Government violated the rights of two deaf people, who when they were called up for jury service, were refused the support they needed, UN experts found.
11-05-2016
Refugee crisis in Europe triggers torture victim’s painful past
Vive Žene, an organization supported by the UN Fund for Victims of Torture, maintains Azra’s sense of family years after the terror of her captivity during the Bosnian war.
09-05-2016
Hidden wounds
Excision remains firmly anchored in the traditions of 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
28-04-2016
Recovered identity: a reunion mends years of pain in Argentina
In Argentina, Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, a civil society organization supported by the UN Fund for Victims of Torture, makes best use of DNA bank to help Guillermo find his true family.
26-04-2016
Women’s rights body rules on Russian banned jobs list complaint
A UN women’s rights committee calls on Russia to amend a list of 456 jobs and 38 industries prohibited to women.
22-04-2016
Foreign fighters: emerging challenge for human rights
With an estimated 30,000 people fighting in armed conflicts outside their country of residence, States need guidance and information on how to deal with this emerging trend and its implications for communities.
20-04-2016
HC Zeid speaks out against hatred and violence at Cleveland law school
Accepting a award for Global Justice at the Cox International Law School in Cleveland, High Commissioner spoke out on hatred and incitement to violence by "overripe bullies". "There is a road to violence," he said. "And hate speech is on that road."
15-04-2016
Experts share challenges of healing children affected by torture
A unique workshop organized by the UN Fund for Victims of Torture spotlights resilience in treating children and halting trauma through generations.
15-04-2016
Shadow of caste and its stigma continue to violate all aspects of human rights
At least 250 million people worldwide still face some form of discrimination based on caste or similar systems of inherited status, according to a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues Rita Izsák-Ndiaye.
14-04-2016
Measuring human rights to support sustainable development
Traditional data collection has seldom been able to support inequality reduction policies to benefit the most vulnerable. A human rights-based approach to data can help States attain the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
08-04-2016
Respecting human rights is key to prevent and counter violent extremism
Violent extremism is a diverse phenomenon and not exclusive to any region, nationality or religion, so fighting it needs a unified approach, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told a conference on violent extremism, being held in Geneva.
08-04-2016
Experts unite to end human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity
In a historic joint dialogue, African, Inter-American and UN rights experts call for concerted efforts to end human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
07-04-2016
From horror to healing
A young Syrian girl who was able to deal with the traumatizing physical and psychological effects of torture is one of the many stories featured in a new brochure produced by the UN Fund for Victims of Torture.
01-04-2016
Making DPRK accountable for human rights violations
In his last report to the Human Rights Council, Marzuki Darusman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of the human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, called for the creation of an expert panel to help ensure accountability for crimes against humanity committed in the country.
31-03-2016
Homelessness: surviving at the peripheries
Homelessness is not a personal failure but the consequence of the systemic denial of the rights of homeless people, says UN expert on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha.
21-03-2016
Vanuatu: translating human rights standards into actions
Vanuatu government officials have learned how to prepare to report on how they help women achieve their rights.
18-03-2016
New digital technologies produce unprecedented levels of child abuse material online
As communication technology evolves at a rapid pace, the technology itself has created a rise in demand for child pornography and an alarming growth of new forms of child sexual exploitation.
18-03-2016
UN Anti-racism expert answers questions in live online discussion
Anti-racial discrimination champion and member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Gay McDougall will take questions on how to make the fight against racial discrimination more relevant worldwide, during a live online discussion on social networking platform Reddit.
18-03-2016
UN Fund for Victims of Torture plays a role in landmark ruling for indigenous women in Guatemala
The UN Fund for Victims of Torture, along with local civil society actors, provides support to victims whose testimonies helped convict two former military members of crimes against humanity in Guatemala.
16-03-2016
Paying the price for climate change in human health
After recounting the devastating impacts of climate change on health during a Human Rights Council event, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore called for urgent action. “We know that change is urgent, necessary, possible and for our children’s children’s sake, we must make change doable.”
14-03-2016
Nigeria creates a military Human Rights Desk
The creation of a Human Rights Desk by the Nigerian army, and a review of the forces’ Code of conduct and Rules of Engagement, represent an unprecedented breakthrough.
14-03-2016
Terrorized, killed, raped and starving: the fate of civilians in South Sudan’s continued civil war
The fate of civilians in South Sudan has worsened considerably in the last nine months, as Government forces and affiliated militia deliberately target civilians for killing, rape and starvation, a newly released UN Human Rights Office report states.
11-03-2016
South Sudan report: Widespread human rights violations and abuses
A new report on South Sudan describes “in searing detail” a multitude of horrendous human rights violations, including a Government-operated “scorched earth policy,” and deliberate targeting of civilians for killing, rape and pillage.
11-03-2016
Children draw rights and freedoms
An 11-year-old from Samoa and a 15-year-old from Pakistan are the global winners of the UN Human Rights Office poster contest to design a poster for the 50th Anniversary of the Human Rights Covenants campaign.
11-03-2016
Changing our subconscious maps the way to equality
Sexism is deeply rooted in our unconscious, said Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore. “We grow up with these internal maps that lead to a bias that can be said to be unconscious. We have to own our responsibility to confront and dismantle those toxic maps.”
10-03-2016
UN Human Rights Chief Zeid presents his annual report to the Human Rights Council
The UN Human Rights Chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein voiced concerns about the harassment and the violations of the rights of human rights defenders in the past year.
10-03-2016
A call to unite the two covenants on human rights
Calling the division between civil and political rights from cultural, economic, and social ones “artificial” speakers urged States to unify the current two human rights laws.
07-03-2016
International Women's Day 2016
Improving gender parity is the focus for this year's International Women's Day which has the theme "Planet 50-50 by 2030: step it up for gender equality."
07-03-2016
Ukraine: over three million civilians lack access to human rights
A new UN Human Rights Office report on Ukraine reveals violations and abuses of human rights through the accounts of witnesses and victims, especially in the areas controlled by the armed groups.
03-03-2016
The right to development – development done right
Widening poverty gaps, food shortages, climate change, economic crises, armed conflicts, rising unemployment continue to confront our world.
01-03-2016
High Commissioner calls for end to pressure on human rights
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called on States and others to relieve the pressure and suffering on people caused by continued human rights violations.
29-02-2016
Voices of despair in Libya
A new UN Human Rights Office report on Libya documents the chilling stories of victims and witnesses which describe widespread human rights violations and abuses committed by both State and non-State actors.
25-02-2016
Libya report: Widespread human rights violations and abuses
A new UN Human Rights Office report on Libya documents the chilling stories of victims and witnesses which describe widespread human rights violations and abuses committed by both State and non-State actors.
25-02-2016
Human rights goes digital in Tajikistan
For the first time, people in Tajikistan are now able to gain access to vital human rights information with a new website launched by the Tajikistan government with the support of the UN Human Rights Regional Office for Central Asia.
19-02-2016
In Senegal, knowing your rights can save from abuses
Being involved in human rights clubs in high schools in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, where students discuss human rights issues relevant to their daily lives, has saved young girls from rights abuses.
17-02-2016
Out of sight, out of mind: deaths in detention in Syria
Syrian men, women, and children have been transferred to one of the dozens of official or secret Government-run detention facilities in the Syrian Arab Republic. Thousands of them have been killed while in custody.
15-02-2016
Policing human rights in Myanmar
UN human rights officers travel the length and breadth of Myanmar to train over 1,000 police officers on the best practices that drive human rights-based policing.
05-02-2016
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the UK, UN panel finds
The founder of the WikiLeaks website, has been arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the United Kingdom, as a result of the legal action against him by both Governments, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said.
05-02-2016
Human Rights experts find racial discrimination in the USA alive and thriving
“The ideology ensuring the domination of one group over another continues,” said Mireille Fanon Mendes France, chair of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent at the end of an 11-day mission to the USA.
03-02-2016
New stamps promoting LGBT equality worldwide unveiled at UN
The UN Postal Administration unveiled a set of six commemorative stamps to promote UN Free & Equal – a global UN campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality launched and led by OHCHR.
02-02-2016
A story of courage to commemorate the Holocaust
“We must never allow another Shoah [Holocaust],” said survivor Paulette Angel-Rosenberg during a ceremony at the United Nations in Geneva to mark the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Angel-Rosenberg shared her experience as a young Jewish girl living in France during the Second World War.
02-02-2016
Human Rights conference in Central Asia
Central Asian countries discuss good practices and challenges in implementing recommendation of UN human rights mechanisms in a conference which took place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
27-01-2016
Fact-finding mission to US looks at human rights condition of African Americans
The Working Group of Experts of People of African Descent (WGPAD) visits the United States to gather first-hand information on the current human rights situation.
22-01-2016
Exhibit and book celebrate contributions of people of African descent
An exhibition and a book to promote the Decade for People of African Descent was unveiled recently at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
21-01-2016
Peru compensates woman in historic UN Human Rights abortion case
The Government of Peru has agreed to pay compensation to a woman who was denied access to legal abortion services, as part of the first UN Human Rights Committee ruling on an abortion case.
18-01-2016
Fiji police receive vital human rights training to improve public image
In an effort to integrate human rights in all aspects of police work, the Fiji Police Force participated in a workshop on human rights provided by the UN Human Rights Regional Office for the Pacific.
15-01-2016
UN human rights chief calls on Thai Government to probe scores of enforced disappearances
Calling on Thailand to criminalize enforced disappearance in line with international standards, the High Commissioner urged the Government to investigate the whereabouts of at least 82 people listed as disappeared.
07-01-2016
Yemen: civilian casualties top 8,100 as airstrikes and shelling continue, UN reports
Civilians are suffering a “terrible toll” in the fighting tearing Yemen apart, with casualties now topping 8,100, nearly 2,800 of them killed, the UN reported.
05-01-2016
Wrecked Lives, Corporate Losses & Sluggish Growth: the Real Cost of Discrimination
Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people hurts people, companies and nations is the message of a new UN Free & Equal Campaign video narrated by Star Trek Actor Zachary Quinto.
04-01-2016
UN chief calls on Iran, Saudi Arabia to avoid further exacerbating tensions after executions
In his call to Saudi Foreign Minister, the UN Secretary-General reiterated his opposition to capital punishment and his disappointment at the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr. Speaking to Iranian Foreign Minister, Mr. Ban urged him to take the necessary measures to protect diplomatic facilities.
04-01-2016
UN officials 'deeply dismayed' by Saudi executions, urge commuting all death sentences
Top UN officials have expressed deep dismay over yesterday's executions by Saudi Arabia of 47 people, including Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, and called on the country's authorities to commute all death sentences.
04-01-2016
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