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How we make a difference 2015


UN calls on Southeast Asian countries to better protect migrants making ‘perilous journeys’ by sea
In a joint statement, senior United Nations officials have urged the leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, to protect migrants and refugees stranded on vessels in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
19-05-2015
New video presents the faces of LGBT “everyday heroes” to the world
“FACES”, a video produced by the UN Human Rights Office as part of its Free & Equal campaign celebrates the contributions that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people make to families and local communities around the world.
15-05-2015
Rebel group responsible for ‘grave violations’ in DR Congo massacres, says UN report
A UN report published Wednesday reveals that grave violations of international humanitarian law were committed by the Uganda-based Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in crisis-riven north-eastern DR Congo.
13-05-2015
Human rights must be at the center of small arms debate, Zeid tells Council
Many people are willing to indulge in “the commerce of death,” and those responsible for facilitating serious violations of human rights are rarely held accountable, High Commissioner Zeid told the Security Council at its debate on small arms.
13-05-2015
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.
06-05-2015
‘Not ghosts but human beings:’ UN rights office launches website on Albinism
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) launched a website dedicated to the issue of albinism aimed at debunking the myths of the rare condition.
06-05-2015
Yemen conflict death toll nears 650, with UN rights office spotlighting plight of 3 million disabled
The conflict in Yemen has now taken at least 646 civilian lives and injured more than 1,300 others, according to UN human rights monitors who also drew attention to the desperate plight of persons with disabilities.
05-05-2015
Ban condemns Texas shooting, says ‘ideas must be defended through democratic debate and dialogue’
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned shooting in Texas that injured a law enforcement officer, reiterating that such criminal acts have nothing to do with religion or belief.
04-05-2015
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.
24-04-2015
People with disabilities have right to inclusive and quality education
An event organised by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities discusses how to make inclusive education a reality.
22-04-2015
UN rights official cites Afghanistan’s ‘paradox’ of new opportunities for peace amid growing violence
Recent violence underlined the fact that it would be Afghan civilians who pay the price and more work needs to be done to protect them, says Ivan Šimonović, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, at the end of a seven-day mission to Afghanistan.
22-04-2015
‘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.
21-04-2015
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.
14-04-2015
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.
13-04-2015
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.
10-04-2015
Human Rights Council calls for the investigation of the atrocities committed by Boko Haram
The UN Human Rights Council calls for the investigation on the atrocities committed by the Boko Haram insurgent group and its effects on human rights in Nigeria and countries of the Lake Chad Basin.
08-04-2015
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.
07-04-2015
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.
03-04-2015
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.
01-04-2015
Libyan human rights defenders face increasing dangers
Libyan human rights defenders are increasingly subject to threats and physical attacks from rival armed groups, according to a recently released UN Human Rights Office report.
31-03-2015
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.
27-03-2015
White Ebony
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.
23-03-2015
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.
19-03-2015
For a better inclusion of women’s rights in detention in Senegal
A new report by the Regional Office for West Africa of the UN Human Rights Office highlights how women in Senegal are particularly affected by detention.
13-03-2015
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.
10-03-2015
Surge in ‘stunningly vicious' attacks on albino children in East Africa, UN rights chief warns
The United Nations human rights chief expressed revulsion at a recent spike in gruesome attacks against people with albinism in several East African countries.
10-03-2015
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.
06-03-2015
Member States must enforce human rights amid rising tide of extremism – UN rights chief
Speaking to the 47-member UN Human Rights Council, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein warned of the “real danger” that opinion-leaders and decision-makers would “lose their grasp” of the values that States built 70 years ago “to ward off the horror of war.”
05-03-2015
A matter of life and death: improving access to medicines worldwide
Two billion people across the globe currently don’t have access to essential medicines. International health care campaigners and other experts met in Geneva to discuss ways of making life-saving drugs available to more people at an affordable price.
05-03-2015
‘No evidence death penalty deters any crime,’ senior UN official tells Rights Council
Despite progress in recent years to universally abolish the death penalty, major challenges persist, Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said today in his opening remarks to the UN Human Rights Council on the third day and final day of meetings.
04-03-2015
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.
03-03-2015
Political consensus urgent to protect human rights, Ban tells opening session of UN council
The UN has the mandates and tools it needs to prevent human rights violations”, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the opening of the 28th session of the Human Rights Council. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the world must be “completely principled and cunning in its collective attempt to defang” violent extremists.
03-03-2015
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.
02-03-2015
Rights of people with disabilities cannot be ignored in development agenda, UN experts
“No one should be left behind if we want to ensure a fully inclusive society for all,” the group of three UN human rights experts said in a statement, urging international negotiators and all UN Member States to firmly include the human rights of persons with disabilities in the new development framework.
20-02-2015
UN rights experts describe ‘unconscionable’ suffering of Syrians in four-year conflict
Four UN human rights experts briefed the Security Council today on a new report into human rights and humanitarian law violations in Syria, saying unthinkable crimes continue occurring daily, with victims' voices in danger of being lost amid the horrors of the conflict.
20-02-2015
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.
17-02-2015
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.
11-02-2015
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.
09-02-2015
“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.
06-02-2015
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.
03-02-2015
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.
28-01-2015
Fellow raises awareness of Yezidi Iraqi plight
Yezidi activist Nareen Shammo tells the story of the plight of her people in war-ravaged parts of Iraq at the UN Human Rights Office.
23-01-2015
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.
16-01-2015
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.
13-01-2015
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.
08-01-2015
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.
02-01-2015
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