Feature stories


No human rights progress despite new presidency, Burundi inquiry finds
No human rights progress despite new presidency, Burundi inquiry finds
The Commission of Inquiry on Burundi outlines the serious human rights violations occurring in the context of the 2020 elections, including summary executions, arbitrary detentions and arrests, torture and sexual violence.
23 September 2020
Report: Women detainees face serious human rights violations
Report: Women detainees face serious human rights violations
“There were beatings. There were people who were out for interrogations and had bruises when they returned. They were crying.” This woman’s account of a pre-trial detention centre in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was one of over a hundred in a new report highlighting extensive human rights violations in the country’s detentions centres.
28 July 2020
Philippines: Report details widespread human rights violations and persistent impunity
Philippines: Report details widespread human rights violations and persistent impunity
A new report by UN Human Rights highlights long-standing and acute human rights concerns in the Philippines, including killings, arbitrary detentions and the vilification of dissent.
4 June 2020
Defending rights of Iranian prisoners amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
Defending rights of Iranian prisoners amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh’s hunger strike in detention has brought public attention and outcry to conditions in the country’s prisons. Her husband, Reza Khandan, explains more.
21 May 2020
Act now to stop COVID-19 ‘rampaging through prisons’
Act now to stop COVID-19 ‘rampaging through prisons’
Bachelet calls on governments to take urgent action to stop COVID-19 sweeping through places of detention where people are often extremely vulnerable to infection.
25 March 2020
Concerns over States contracting private security companies in migration situations
Concerns over States contracting private security companies in migration situations
Human rights experts describe the appalling human rights impacts of the privatisation by certain States in the Americas, Europe and Oceania of different aspects of immigration and border management, notably privately operated immigration detention facilities.
20 December 2019
Humanizing the prison world: A diplomatic victory in Madagascar
Humanizing the prison world: A diplomatic victory in Madagascar
Madagascar has made the humanization of the prison world a national priority. The diplomatic approach to human rights and support from UN Human Rights has significantly contributed to that.
12 December 2019
"I will bring back hope to people."
"I will bring back hope to people."
A Sudanese refugee activist is the 2019 Martin Ennals Award Laureate. Abudul Aziz Muhamat highlights the situation of refugees in offshore detention by the Australian government. Two other finalists included an Afro-Colombian rights campaigner and a human rights lawyer from Turkey.
22 February 2019
Harassment, detention, death: journalists still in peril
Harassment, detention, death: journalists still in peril
More than 1,000 journalists have been killed globally for doing their jobs – reporting and informing the public, with only 10 percent of their cases seeing justice. A recent UN Human Rights Office report and Human Rights Council resolution call for States to take more concrete actions to protect journalists.
2 November 2018
What to know about detention and the right to health
What to know about detention and the right to health
The UN right to health expert, Dainius Pūras, says that over 10 million people detained in prisons and confined in other institutions are denied their right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
28 June 2018
UN report details scale and horror of detention in Libya
UN report details scale and horror of detention in Libya
Armed groups in Libya, including those affiliated with the State, hold thousands of people in prolonged and unlawful detention, and submit them to torture and other human rights violations, according to a UN report published on Tuesday.
10 April 2018
Profound violations amid Turkey’s state of emergency
Profound violations amid Turkey’s state of emergency
Staggering numbers of people have had their human rights violated under the routine extensions of the state of emergency in Turkey, UN report finds, including hundreds of thousands arrested and arbitrarily dismissed.
20 March 2018
Uruguay rights: Zeid highlights progress and challenges
Uruguay rights: Zeid highlights progress and challenges
Zeid recognises Uruguay’s rights record but highlights ongoing issues to be addressed, including violence against women, “inhumane” prison conditions and impunity for violations during military rule.
27 October 2017
In the best interest of migrant children
In the best interest of migrant children
The prohibition of the detention of migrant children, unaccompanied or with their family members, should be a critical point of discussion at the upcoming UN Summit for Migrants and Refugees, says UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau.
16 September 2016
Imprisoned, detained and insecure: the human rights of migrants in Bulgaria come under scrutiny
Imprisoned, detained and insecure: the human rights of migrants in Bulgaria come under scrutiny
UN Human Rights officials have expressed concern over the detention of migrants who irregularly cross into Bulgaria. Under current legislation, those caught face criminal prosecution and even jail.
24 August 2016
United Nations inquiry finds crimes against humanity in Eritrea
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.
8 June 2016
Out of sight, out of mind: deaths in detention in Syria
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 February 2016
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the UK, UN panel finds
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.
5 February 2016
UN launches ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’ on improving treatment of prisoners
UN launches ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’ on improving treatment of prisoners
The UN launched the Revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, dubbed the ‘Nelson Mandela Rules,’ which Secretary-General as “a great step forward” but also drew attention to three areas that could be strengthened from a human rights perspective.
8 October 2015
For a better inclusion of women’s rights in detention in Senegal
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 March 2015
UN cites total breakdown of law and order in eastern Ukraine
UN cites total breakdown of law and order in eastern Ukraine
The new report describes the breakdown of law and order in the areas held by armed groups in the country’s east – with increasing evidence of abductions, detentions, torture, and killings.
19 June 2014
The UN Human Rights Office reports on the state of prisons in Tunisia
The UN Human Rights Office reports on the state of prisons in Tunisia
The UN Human Rights Office publishes a report, citing overcrowding as the major problem in Tunisia’s prison system.
25 April 2014
Kyrgyzstan establishes a new system to prevent torture
Kyrgyzstan establishes a new system to prevent torture
Following alarming reports of torture in places of detention after the ethnic conflict in 2010, Kyrgyzstan is the first country in Central Asia to adopt a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) law, which establishes a National Centre as an independent body to monitor places of detention.
18 March 2014
A World without Arbitrary Detention
A World without Arbitrary Detention
“Arbitrary detention has become endemic and is more and more, in the context of recent protests around the world, used as a weapon to silence and eliminate all opposition,” says Bacre Ndiaye, Director of the Human Rights Council and SP Division.
12 December 2011