How we make a difference 2017

Your views matter: Help the UN Human Rights Office define its strategic direction for 2018-2021
The UN Human Rights Office is defining its strategic direction for the next four years and would appreciate your input. Please take a brief survey to help us make the best strategic choices to stand up for human rights.
Eliminating racial discrimination to build trusting societies
The UN Human Rights Council commemorates the International Day against Racial Discrimination with a debate on racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration.
Target hate speech and hate crimes, Zeid urges States
Hate speech and hate crimes make it necessary for us all to take a stand against racism and xenophobia, Zeid says in a call to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
National Human rights institutions link international law to local action
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussien speaks with Beate Rudolf, chair of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions during a recent meeting in Geneva. NHRIs provide an integral link between international human rights law and their countries.
Undoing slavery's legacy of injustice and discrimination
The International Decade for People of African Descent, which will run until 2024, aims to honour and restore the dignity of people of African descent by raising awareness and sparking real change.
International, impartial, independent: hope for accountability in Syria
Probably tens of thousands of people are currently detained in Syria. In a sense the entire country has become a torture chamber - a place of savage horror and absolute injustice.
Serious rights violations in southeast Turkey
The displacement of thousands of people and the wholesale destruction of neighbourhoods in southeast Turkey during Government security operations are detailed in a UN report.
'We need to protect each other and stand up for what we believe in'
"At times such as these, human rights are too important to be left to governments alone. We must also act, in our own lives, to uphold human rights," High Commissioner Zeid tells the FIDHR film festival in Geneva.
Children at forefront of climate action urge focus on child rights
“The battle against climate change is one that we can’t afford to lose because it’s the greatest threat to our survival,” 16-year-old Kehkashan Basu told the Human Rights Council.
High Commissioner delivers his Global Update to the Human Rights Council
“All together – or fall together”: High Commissioner Zeid highlights countries where positive reforms are underway – and warns of others where escalating crises threaten men and women around the world .
Backlash against women's rights hurts us all - Zeid
Zeid calls for us all to stand up for women's rights as the world marks International Women's Day on 8 March, warning that advances in women's equality should nowhere be taken for granted.
A girl's education comes first, marriage will follow later
Thanks to her human rights training, a pupil prevents an early marriage and stands up for girls’ education.
Attacks on Syrian civilians and aid workers in Aleppo were war crimes
“The scale of what happened in Aleppo is unprecedented,” the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said, issuing its new report. The Commission found war crimes were committed by government forces and opposition groups in the brutal battle to control Aleppo.
“We have much to lose” High Commissioner Zeid tells Human Rights Council
Without commitment to fundamental human rights, to the dignity and worth of the human person and to the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, our world will become chaos, misery and warfare. 
New agreement on activities between Mexico and the UN Human Rights Office
The Office looks forward to assisting Mexico in meeting challenges to human rights, including impunity.
Zeid calls for immediate halt to DRC killings
Zeid calls on the DRC Government to act amid credible allegations of massive human rights violations in the DRC, including people being targeted by soldiers for their alleged affiliation with a local militia.
Libya Gaddafi regime trial: Missed opportunity for justice
UN report makes key recommendations for the Libyan justice system, finding that the trial of 37 members of Col Muammar Gaddafi’s regime fell short of international standards.
Conflict and violence are the offspring of human rights violations
At a major human rights conference in the Arab region, Deputy High Commissioner Kate Gilmore speaks to the power of human rights to prevent conflicts and rebuild broken societies.
Film festival: the road to safety
The 2017 edition of the Global Road Safety Film Festival marks 10 years of raising awareness of safety of the world’s road and preventing road traffic casualties and injuries.
A decade on, UN urges all Governments to endorse convention on enforced disappearance
Marking the tenth anniversary of an historic treaty to keep people from suffering enforced disappearance or secret detentions, the UN urged all Governments that have not done so to ratify it, as the world body honoured victims separated from their loved ones.
Ukraine conflict: End impunity for sexual violence
“What’s the point of saying what happened to me? No one will punish them.” UN report documents how survivors of sexual assault in the context of the armed conflict in Ukraine are often denied justice.
Life in a political earthquake: The stabilising force of human rights
Standing up for human rights is the best answer to spreading protectionism, nationalism and apparent attempts to undermine international law: Zeid
Investment in human rights today makes for prevention tomorrow
The UN Human Rights Office launches a 253M USD funding appeal, urging States and private donors to support its work, through its 60 field presences and partnerships with others, to bolster human rights protections in an uncertain world.
"Stand up and join the struggle to uphold human rights"
At the ISFIT student festival in Norway, Deputy High Commissioner Kate Gilmore urged students from all over the world to uphold the vital principles of equality, justice, dignity and respect.
Civilians in Yemen caught between warring parties
Civilians were trapped and targeted during fighting in Al Mokha, and there are real fears that the situation will repeat itself in the port of Al Hudaidah, to the north of Al Mokha, where air strikes are already intensifying, Zeid warns.
Record number of child casualties in Afghanistan
Civilian casualties in Afghanistan reached a record high in 2016. More children than ever have been killed, blinded, crippled while playing with unexploded ordnance negligently left behind by parties to the conflict.
Devastating cruelty against Rohingyas in Myanmar
A mother witnessing her child’s murder as she herself was being gang-raped is one of many shocking accounts of violence and violations told to UN Human Rights staff by Rohingyas who have fled Myanmar.
Commemorating the victims of the Holocaust
As we honour the victims of the Holocaust, we must also acknowledge the need to prevent the recurrence of anti-Semitism and all forms of racial and religious hatred and discrimination today.
ISIL ‘deliberately targeting’ civilians in eastern Mosul
ISIL continues to target civilians in parts of Mosul recaptured by Iraqi forces with shelling and improvised explosive attacks, and reportedly shooting people attempting to flee the areas it still controls.
Azimjan Askarov verdict in Kyrgyzstan ‘deeply troubling’
The decision by a court in Kyrgyzstan to uphold a life sentence against political activist and journalist Azimjan Askarov highlights serious shortcomings in the country’s judicial system, Zeid says.
Victim to victor: the story of Souleymane Guengueng
Souleymane Guengueng is one of the victims of torture who has demanded justice for the atrocities they endured under the dictatorship of Chad’s Hissène Habré.
Civilians in South Sudan live under constant risk of mass atrocities
A UN report details grave human rights violations, including killings and gang rapes, committed in Juba in July 2016. Six months later, there remains widespread impunity, as abuses continue unabated.
Davos: Business leaders must stand up for human rights
High Commissioner Zeid calls on business leaders at Davos to use their considerable influence to stand up for human rights and to join in the fight to defend the global values that are currently under threat.
Engaging in critical dialogues for human rights and peace in Mali
Members of an armed separatist group listen to a presentation by the UN Human Rights and Protection Division in Ber, northern Mali. The meeting is part of a critical strategy to engage extremist groups in human rights dialogue, said Division Director Guillaume Ngefa.
Minority rights must be top priority in humanitarian crisis
Conflicts driven by sectarian ideologies fuel discrimination and abuse against minorities, targeting groups like the Yazidi religious minority in Iraq.
Best practices to achieve “virtuous cycle for human rights progress"
The UN Human Rights Office releases two new publications aimed at helping Governments improve human rights reporting and implementation.
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