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​​​​​How we make a difference 2017


South African radio stations stand up for human rights
Community radio stations across South Africa were encouraged to join the “Stand up for someone’s rights today” campaign during a recent radio competition. The winning station solved a compensation issue for a local farm worker injured on the job.
24-07-2017
Liu Xiaobo: The definition of civic courage and human dignity - Zeid
China's iconic peace and democracy figures Liu Xiaobo was the definition of civic courage and human dignity – an inspiration to human rights defenders everywhere - Zeid.
13-07-2017
Justice and reconciliation needed to heal Iraq’s wounds – Zeid
With Mosul reaken by Iraqi security forces, Zeid urges real dialogue between communities to halt the cycle of violence and ensure ISIL’s crimes do not poison Iraqi society for generations.
11-07-2017
Men and boys in the fight to eliminate violence against women
“We believe that men and boys are part of the solution (to the problem of violence against women)…and we need them engaged to stop violence against women,” said Lana Wells, a professor at the University of Calgary, Canada during a panel discussion on involving men and boys in the fight for gender equity at the Human Rights Council.
30-06-2017
Central African Republic: efforts to fight impunity taking shape
Transitional justice is the way to sustainable peace in Central African Republic, say national, regional and UN representatives who discussed recommendations made in a UN report mapping 13 years of rights violations.
28-06-2017
Civilians mustn't be sacrificed for rapid military victories
"The intense bombardment of Al-Raqqa over the past three weeks has reportedly left civilians terrified and confused about where they can seek refuge as they are caught between ISIL’s monstrosities and the fierce battle to defeat it,” High Commissioner Zeid says as he appeals for their protection.
28-06-2017
Migrant survivors of torture: A ‘silent epidemic’ of trauma
Two-thirds of the 50,000 torture victims assisted by the UN Fund for Torture Victims are migrants and refugees. Experts stress that migrants and refugees who have experienced torture must be identified and offered treatment as soon as possible upon their arrival in border areas and reception centres.
27-06-2017
Is international human rights law under threat: a lecture on international day for victims of torture
To overcome prejudice and uphold human rights requires a continuous investment of thought. The default flow in the minds of humanity may be reptilian; but the internal battle to overcome it is profoundly human.
26-06-2017
Basic income possible solution to human rights problem of poverty
“Universal basic income could offer the solution to pressing problems that are about to become far more intractable as a result of the directions in which the global economy appears inexorably heading,” UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston said.
23-06-2017
Zeid welcomes international investigation into DRC
The creation of an international investigation into allegations of gross violations in the Kasai regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo sends a strong message to perpetrators that the international community is serious about bringing them to justice.
23-06-2017
Uncertain prospects for Boko Haram survivors
As more women and girls are freed from the violence of terror group Boko Haram, those returning to their communities do not always receive a survivor’s welcome. How can local authorities improve their reintegration into their communities and ensure their rehabilitation?
21-06-2017
Crossing borders: A child’s journey
The numbers of refugee and migrant children travelling alone have hit a record high, with at least 300,000 unaccompanied minors recorded in nearly 80 countries during 2015-2016, a fivefold increase from 2010-2011. One former child migrant tells his story.
20-06-2017
Horrific violations in the DRC require independent investigation
"A landscape of horror": harrowing reports of violations in the Kasais, and the launch of a new militia, indicate the need for international investigation, High Commissioner Zeid tells the Human Rights Council.
20-06-2017
UN human rights investigators decry targeting of civilians in Syria
“The only way to end civilian suffering is to end this war,” the Commission of Inquiry on Syria told the Human Rights Council, as the conflict rages into its seventh year.
16-06-2017
Women’s health at the heart of sustainable development
When women’s right to health is upheld, their access to all other human rights are enhanced, triggering a process of transformative change and greater development for all, said Tarja Halonen, co-chair of the High-Level Working Group on Health and Human Rights.
15-06-2017
"Diversity in humanity" clarion call for expert on sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights
To address violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, "it is essential to harness and reinforce mutual respect, tolerance and a sense of humanity," said Mr. Vitit Muntarbhorn, the first UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI).
09-06-2017
DRC: Violations and abuses in the Kasais need international investigation
Zeid urges the UN Human Rights Council to establish an international investigation into human rights violations and abuses, including mass graves and massive displacement, in the Kasais provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
09-06-2017
States that fail to engage on human rights betray their people - Zeid
High Commissioner Zeid tells Human Rights Council members they have particular responsibility to cooperate with human rights bodies.
06-06-2017
New NGO law deeply damaging for human rights in Egypt
A repressive new law issued in Egypt leaves human rights defenders even more vulnerable to sanctions and reprisals than they already are. Muzzling dissent can only lead to further instability, High Commissioner Zeid says.
01-06-2017
UN human rights report maps 13 years of violence and impunity in the Central African Republic
Mass killings and other serious human rights violations have been documented in an extensive UN mapping report covering the multiple conflicts in the CAR between 2003 and 2015. Many of the violations may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, the mapping report states, as it sets out a strategy to fight pervasive impunity in the country.
30-05-2017
After more than half a century, a community receives justice
After more than 50 years, the Rastafari community of Coral Gardens in Jamaica have received recognition, recompense and an expression of regret of the human rights violations against hundreds of Rastafarians across the island. The UN Human Rights Advisor assisted the community in their advocacy to honour the commitment to justice.
26-05-2017
Airstrikes, ISIL causing civilian casualties in Syria
The same civilians who are suffering indiscriminate shelling and summary executions by ISIL, are also falling victim to the escalating airstrikes, particularly in the northeastern governorates of Al-Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor.
26-05-2017
Stand up for human rights to – and through - health
Human rights cannot be fully enjoyed without health, nor can health be fully realized without the dignity upheld by human rights. A new report launched by a group of UN experts calls on Governments to stand up for the human rights to health through health by taking concrete actions to deliver on existing promises to fund, protect and expand health care provision.
23-05-2017
Stand up for human rights to - and through - health
A report by the High-Level Group on health and human rights calls for tangible action to advance the right to health of all, in particular women, children and adolescents. Health workers, as human rights defenders, can play an indispensable role in making this happen.
22-05-2017
Towards a global compact on migration
A huge step forward for migrants, as UN Member States begin discussions to reach a new international agreement in 2018 to uphold the human rights of migrants. “We have effectively broken the barrier of silence,” say human rights expert on migration François Crepeau.
17-05-2017
Landmark partnership with Microsoft
The UN Human Rights Office's five-year agreement with Microsoft is an opportunity to develop and use advanced technology to better predict, analyse and respond to critical human rights situations, and highlights the private sector's role in helping advance human rights globally.
16-05-2017
Violence and insecurity spreading in CAR
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expresses grave alarm over the expanding attacks by armed groups against the civilian population in several parts of the Central African Republic in recent months, as well as attacks against UN peacekeepers in the southeast.
16-05-2017
High Commissioner Zeid visits Uzbekistan
High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the human rights reforms initiated by the new administration in Uzbekistan could, if successfully implemented, have a transformational impact on the country's future.
11-05-2017
Moves to impeach Nepal Chief Justice an assault on human rights
Zeid urges the Government in Nepal to respect the independence of the judiciary, and withdraw what appears to be a politically motivated impeachment motion against the Chief Justice, Sushila Karki.
05-05-2017
War-weary civilians at imminent risk of further violence
Women, children and men who fled violence in the Upper Nile region of South Sudan in the most horrifying circumstances are now trapped in Aburoc town, at imminent risk of gross human rights violations and inter-ethnic violence.
04-05-2017
New mobile app puts human rights at your fingertips
Users who wish to stay informed about human rights can stay better informed directly on their phone via the new UN Human Rights Office app, available for both Apple and Android phones.
03-05-2017
People of African Descent: doing more time for less crime
People of African descent face similar types of rights violations perpetrated by State institutions on both sides of the Atlantic. Their cries for justice can still be heard.
28-04-2017
Zeid calls for justice after more mass graves discovered in DRC
The DRC Government must ensure there is a transparent and independent investigation into alleged human rights violations and abuses by all parties, Zeid says, after 17 further mass graves are found in the Kasais.
19-04-2017
Migrants face border closures and exclusion, amid rising hostility
Rights defenders joined the UN Human Rights Office in calling on the Human Rights Council to strengthen protections for migrants and support development of a rights-based global compact for migration.
19-04-2017
Rape chants lay bare campaign of terror by Burundi militia
A chilling video of Imbonerakure militia members in Burundi chanting a call to impregnate or kill opponents is an alarming indication of the militia's campaign of fear and terror, Zeid warns.
18-04-2017
Escalating erosion of the right to health is a critical human rights issue
Healthcare is not a privilege; it is a right, and it requires public policy. It is also a lever for everyone's economic, social and political advancement.
13-04-2017
Beirut Declaration enhances role of religions in promoting human rights
Finding common ground among diverse faith groups results in a new multi-faith initiative to protect religious freedom and uphold human rights.
12-04-2017
Protecting the rights of detainees in Syria
Protection of detainees and the disappeared in Syria was the focus of a recent panel discussion held during the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The discussion focused on the experiences of former detainees as well as providing some ways forward.
11-04-2017
Dangers of undermining international law and institutions
We must stand up for the principles and institutions which protect us from chaos; or will our generation trigger a return to injustice, hate, war, imperialism and the oppressive exercise of naked power? - Zeid
05-04-2017
Hunted for their body parts
The killing of human beings and the use of their body parts in amulets and potions in “traditional medicine” and in witchcraft is a crime, says the UN expert on the rights of people with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero.
04-04-2017
Preserve separation of powers, Zeid urges Venezuela
Zeid stresses the importance of the separation of powers for democracy and human rights, as he urges Venezuela’s Supreme Court to reconsider a ruling to strip the National Assembly of its legislative powers.
31-03-2017
Protection of civilians paramount as ISIL intensifies use of human shields
High Commissioner Zeid urges Iraqi and Coalition forces to scrupulously respect international humanitarian law, to avoid loss of civilian lives, particularly given ISIL's cowardly strategy of using civilians as human shields.
28-03-2017
Access to essential medicines is a fundamental element of the right to health
“Millions are unable today to access essential medicines not due to any inherent lack of these commodities, but to entirely man-made policy deficits and entrenched practices,” said UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore at a panel discussion on access to medicines during the recent UN Human Rights Council.
24-03-2017
Two years of war, 13,000 civilian casualties in Yemen
The violent deaths of refugees fleeing yet another war, of fishermen, of families in marketplaces, millions of people desperate for their basic rights to food, water, health and security - this is what the conflict in Yemen looks like two years after it began.
24-03-2017
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.
22-03-2017
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.
21-03-2017
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.
20-03-2017
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.
17-03-2017
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.
16-03-2017
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.
14-03-2017
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.
10-03-2017
'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.
10-03-2017
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.
09-03-2017
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 .
08-03-2017
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.
07-03-2017
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.
06-03-2017
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.
03-03-2017
“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. 
27-02-2017
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.
23-02-2017
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.
21-02-2017
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.
21-02-2017
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.
21-02-2017
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.
20-02-2017
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.
16-02-2017
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
16-02-2017
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.
15-02-2017
"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.
10-02-2017
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.
10-02-2017
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.
06-02-2017
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.
03-02-2017
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.
26-01-2017
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.
24-01-2017
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.
24-01-2017
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.
19-01-2017
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.
16-01-2017
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.
13-01-2017
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.
06-01-2017
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.
05-01-2017
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.
02-01-2017
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