How we make a difference 2015
Films help educate students about human rights
For ten years the UN Human Rights Office has supported the use of films as a way to educate about human rights. In partnership with the Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights, the Office co-organizes special screenings of films aimed at Geneva schoolchildren.
Fight against torture: “Are we doing enough?”
Ending torture means ending impunity for those who commit it, as well as providing rehabilitation and reparation to victims, practitioners told a large audience of representatives from Member States and the public during a public meeting convened by the UN Fund for Victims of Torture.
‘Callous’ EU politics on migrants costing lives, UN rights chief warns
Following the loss of some 700 lives after a boat carrying migrants sank over the weekend, the UN human rights chief has urged European Union governments to take a “more sophisticated, more courageous and less callous approach” to coping with the flows of migrants towards Europe.
Doha: At Crime Congress, UN experts cite ‘shift’ as more States move away from death penalty
“The world is certainly moving away from the death penalty, in just the way the world moved away from slavery, from judicial torture and from other such practices”, UN Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns said at the Doha Crime Congress special event on the death penalty, recalling that in 1948, only eight States had taken the death penalty out of their laws and now 99 have done so.
Rebuilding lives torn apart by torture
Fund recipients will join board members during a meeting of the UN Voluntary Fund for the Victims of Torture. The meeting, which takes place in Geneva in April, gives a chance for Fund recipients to exchange best practices and meeting with the Fund’s Trustees.
Children living on the street to receive special focus
The Committee on the Rights of the Child is developing a General Comment on Children in Street Situations. The Comment, which is a comprehensive review of how the Convention on the Rights of the Child can be applied to children living on the street, was prompted by a recommendation of a report by the UN Human Rights Office and the Consortium for Street Children.
Learning from historical tragedies to end racism
The Human Rights Council says that commemorating past human rights tragedies through the use of archives, historical research and other educational activities, will help combat the old ideologies that continue to feed racism today.
Thanks A Million
The UN Human Rights Office Facebook page has passed the one million “likes” mark. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called the milestone symbolic of the public’s trust in the work of the Office.
Copyright should not infringe on cultural rights
Copyrights are not normally associated with human rights, but these laws can have a profound effect on the lives of communities if not properly managed, says UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights Farida Shaheed.
Climate change is a human rights issue
A human rights-based approach to climate change would render climate policy more effective because it would identify and satisfy the most pressing needs of vulnerable people, said Flavia Pansieri, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The exhibition “Blanc Ebène – White Ebony” at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, raises awareness of the human rights of persons living with albinism through 30 images by photographer Patricia Willocq.
Expert says key housing rights responsibility lie with local authorities
The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, is concerned about the billions of people worldwide living in inadequate housing. In her report at the 28th session of the Human Rights Council she called on States to guarantee access to justice and effective remedies for violations of this right.
Experts in Argentina 35 years after
To mark the 35th anniversary of its creation, the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances hosted its session in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Group was created to investigate disappearances specifically in the wake of massive human rights violations in Argentina. The meeting marked the Working Group’s 105th session.
Honouring Women Human Rights Defenders
Being a human rights defender can mean extraordinary acts and risks, which can multiply if that defender is a woman. A campaign by the UN Human Rights Office has highlighted the work done by these defenders and encouraged solidarity with them.
Protecting and promoting minority rights in Kyrgyzstan
Utkir Dzhabbarov believes that learning how to better use the UN human rights instruments and mechanisms is key to help improve the lives of ethnic minority communities in Kyrgyzstan. Dzhabbarov, who belongs to the Uzbek minority community in Kyrgyzstan, was a participant in the UN Human Rights Office Minority Fellowship Programme.
States must renew dedication to inalienable human rights
The near daily news of atrocities and needless human suffering at the hands of terrorists and others demands a stronger and more inspired leadership from Member States toward upholding human rights, said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Zeid made his comments at the opening of the 28th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Climate change impacts enjoyment of human rights
Recognizing the intrinsic link between human rights and climate change, experts on both issues took part in the “Climate Justice Dialogue.” The Dialogue, which took place in Geneva in early February, aimed to strengthen the links between human rights and climate change action ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference, which will take place in Paris later this year. The Dialogue was sponsored by the UN Human Rights Office and the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice.
Rise in unregistered marriages in Kyrgyzstan called “worrying”
Unregistered marriages are on the rise in Kyrgyzstan. The marriages, usually performed by a local religious leader, can put the women who participate in them at risk by undermining their rights and economic position, according to the UN Human Rights Regional Office for Central Asia. The office is working with local NGOs, and government officials to raise awareness of and to help curb the practice.
Attacks against girls’ education on the increase
A new report by the UN Human Rights Office looks at the increase in attacks against girls accessing education. The study, by the Women’s Human Rights and Gender section, found an increase in the number of attacks specifically aimed at girls trying to go to school. It makes recommendations for prevention and reparations.
“We need people with PH D level compassion”
“We need people who are kind. People with PhD level compassion,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Zeid made his remarks during a speech at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. as part of an event looking into the causes of atrocities.
Fashion used to show human rights
“We invite you to wear your human rights 365 days every year,” said Liliana Valina, Human Rights Adviser with the UN Human Rights Office. She is referring to wearing clothing designed as part of the Derechos Humanos, Son Para Protegerte (Human rights, they are protecting you) campaign, which used fashion to help raise awareness of human rights issues.
Helping to inform and improve the lives of Afro-Nicaraguans
Shaun Carol Campbell Bush believes that Nicaraguans of African descent need to be more proactive to have their rights recognized. As a participant in the UN Human Rights Office Minority Fellowship programme, she believes she will learn how to use human rights mechanisms to assist her community to do this.
Traditional slavery: Said and Yarg’s story
Brothers Said and Yarg both inherited the status of ‘slave’. They had no choice but to obey their master’s orders and were not allowed to go to school. They were also frequently subject to beatings. They were eventually able to escape and with the assistance of two anti-slavery organisations, they have been able to pursue legal action against their former master and begin their schooling.
Taking a human rights approach to psychosocial disability
Getting the issues concerning persons with psychosocial disabilities or mental health problems dealt with from a human rights perspective has been the focus of work by the UN Human Rights Regional Office for Europe. A recent event of the “Forgotten Europeans” series looked at human rights challenges faced by these groups.
Rebuilding Lives After Torture – Ahmed’s Story
Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Amin, executive director of WCHAN – Trauma Rehabilitation and Training Center of Iraq, counsels torture victims from across the country and from neighbouring Syria.
Religious and belief tolerance necessary for workplace
Religious practice in the workplace needs to be accommodated to ensure all employees are free to exercise this human right, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief says. To do this, Heiner Bielefeldt calls on employers and employees should establish an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.
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