Stories


The Right to Voice: sexual violence survivors from Colombia tell their stories
The Right to Voice: sexual violence survivors from Colombia tell their stories
Survivors of sexual and gender-based violence from Colombia tell their stories in a photo exhibition being displayed at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
1 April 2019
"Because your voice is valid"
"Because your voice is valid"
Law student and UN Human Rights Fellow, Mary Consolata Namagambe, has decided to challenge the exclusion she and other people of African descent endure in a majority-white Danish society.
29 March 2019
On International Women’s Day, Stand With Her
On International Women’s Day, Stand With Her
Generations of courageous women and feminist movements have together stood up for social change by fighting for human rights. On International Women’s Day, they are being recognised and honoured. The #IStandWithHer campaign will tell some of their stories.
7 March 2019
From Benin to Florida: Dr Joannie Bewa’s global fight for women’s education
From Benin to Florida: Dr Joannie Bewa’s global fight for women’s education
A young physician and human rights defender, Joannie Bewa advocates for girls’ and women’s health and education rights in her native Benin. She is also globally promoting the Sustainable Development Goals as a UN Young Leader.
5 March 2019
When you stand up for girls, you stand up for everyone
When you stand up for girls, you stand up for everyone
Francis Oko Armah is a student who stands up for the right for young people to have access to and be educated about reproductive and sexual health. He works for the Young Leaders for Change Foundation in Accra, Ghana.
8 February 2019
Doing right by women and girls
Doing right by women and girls
Tikhala Itaye, a young human rights defender from Malawi, wishes initiatives to promote the rights of women and girls would reach communities at the grassroots. “If they don’t know their rights, we are not doing something right,” she says.
6 December 2018
“The only option to survive is to be brave”
“The only option to survive is to be brave”
Pakistani athlete and human rights defender Noorena Shams is a triple-threat athlete (cycling, squash, cricket) and an outspoken advocate for rights and an active example of how sport can “make you bold.”
12 October 2018
Gender integration in human rights investigations
Gender integration in human rights investigations
“Investigations that overlook the ways in which gender, other identities and the associated social norms serve to aggravate, falsely normalize, hide and even excuse human rights impacts cannot be accepted. Gender identity and status matter,” said UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore.
5 October 2018
Bridging the digital gender divide
Bridging the digital gender divide
The potential of technology to help women and girls exercise their human rights has yet to be realised because of a persistent and growing digital gender divide. But experts say this divide can be bridged through concentrated efforts to educate, ensure access, and improve the skills of women and girls.
11 July 2018
Digital misogyny is personal and fixable
Digital misogyny is personal and fixable
For women and girls, the internet can be an empowering space. It can also be dangerous, as online abuse escalates. But a group of experts and activists say the abuse can be challenged using human rights and technology.
6 July 2018
Soumayya’s story: A bold fight against female genital mutilation
Soumayya’s story: A bold fight against female genital mutilation
“This is a practice that is injuring the bodies of women, the bodies of girls,” said Soumayya, who took a courageous stand against female mutilation and was imprisoned and tortured for her resistance to the widespread practice. Her fight continues to this day. Here is her story.
1 December 2017
Protecting the reproductive rights of adolescent girls
Protecting the reproductive rights of adolescent girls
Restrictions on adolescent girls’ reproductive choices are an especially hurtful form of gender-based discrimination and violence, women’s rights experts told Member States at a high-level panel discussion of the Human Rights Council.
23 November 2017
Activists use human rights to advance sexual and reproductive health
Activists use human rights to advance sexual and reproductive health
“Human rights mechanisms are a way to hold governments accountable, especially at a time when there is shrinking space,” said Catherine Nyambura, of the pan-African women’s rights organization FemNet. She made her comment after a recent training session on sexual and reproductive health and rights, organized by the UN Human Rights Regional Office in East Africa.
25 October 2017
Gender discrimination, racial discrimination and women
Gender discrimination, racial discrimination and women's human rights
The Human Rights Council examines the negative impacts of intersecting discrimination against women and girls in the context of racism and racial discrimination.
29 September 2017
Uncertain prospects for Boko Haram survivors
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 June 2017
Women’s health at the heart of sustainable development
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 June 2017
Stand up for human rights to – and through - health
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 May 2017
A girl
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.
6 March 2017
Child and forced marriage: a violation of human rights
Child and forced marriage: a violation of human rights
Today, about 700 million girls worldwide are married before they reach adulthood, according to UN estimates.
3 November 2016
Putting women’s rights at the forefront of judicial decisions
Putting women’s rights at the forefront of judicial decisions
In Guatemala, a toolkit developed by OHCHR promotes a human rights and gender approach in the administration of justice in cases related to violence against women, femicide, exploitation and trafficking in persons.
3 August 2016
UN Sustainable Development Goals to better serve the rights of women and girls
UN Sustainable Development Goals to better serve the rights of women and girls
UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore (pictured on stage with actress Jessica Biel) urged participants at the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen to continue to agitate and push for human rights for women and girls.
10 June 2016
Women’s rights body rules on Russian banned jobs list complaint
Women’s rights body rules on Russian banned jobs list complaint
A UN women’s rights committee calls on Russia to amend a list of 456 jobs and 38 industries prohibited to women.
22 April 2016
Changing our subconscious maps the way to equality
Changing our subconscious maps the way to equality
Sexism is deeply rooted in our unconscious, said Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore. “We grow up with these internal maps that lead to a bias that can be said to be unconscious. We have to own our responsibility to confront and dismantle those toxic maps.”
10 March 2016
International Women
International Women's Day 2016
Improving gender parity is the focus for this year's International Women's Day which has the theme "Planet 50-50 by 2030: step it up for gender equality."
7 March 2016
Peru compensates woman in historic UN Human Rights abortion case
Peru compensates woman in historic UN Human Rights abortion case
The Government of Peru has agreed to pay compensation to a woman who was denied access to legal abortion services, as part of the first UN Human Rights Committee ruling on an abortion case.
18 January 2016
Witchcraft in a modern age: broken communities and recalcitrant stigma
Witchcraft in a modern age: broken communities and recalcitrant stigma
Desperate times can revive olden beliefs that make members of the same community turn against one another.
10 December 2015
Ending child marriage: affected girls speak for themselves
Ending child marriage: affected girls speak for themselves
“Child marriage started before me and will end with me,” said one of the participants during a safe space discussion for former child brides held at the First African Girls Summit to End Child Marriage, in Lusaka, Zambia.
4 December 2015
Geneva focus of forum on preventing violence against women
Geneva focus of forum on preventing violence against women
It is often forgotten that no place is immune to the issue of violence against women. The UN Human Rights Office took a look at the work being done locally in Geneva to assist victims of such violence.
3 December 2015
Legal clinics bring justice and rehabilitation to victims of sexual violence in DR Congo
Legal clinics bring justice and rehabilitation to victims of sexual violence in DR Congo
The UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DR Congo supports victims of sexual violence through grassroots organizations that provide direct legal assistance, free of charge, for survivors and their families.
25 November 2015
Workshop provides critical space for activists working on sexual and reproductive health rights
Workshop provides critical space for activists working on sexual and reproductive health rights
Improving the promotion of sexual and reproductive health rights was the focus of a recent workshop organized by the UN Human Rights Regional Office for West Africa. The workshop trained NGOs from across West Africa on how to use human rights mechanisms to increase respect for sexual and reproductive health and rights.
4 August 2015
Zeid to Human Rights Council: “Boko Haram retains capacity to cause significant harm”
Zeid to Human Rights Council: “Boko Haram retains capacity to cause significant harm”
UN Human Rights Chief Zeid warns that failure to uphold international humanitarian and human rights principles in the fight against Boko Haram may jeopardize the population’s trust in national authorities.
6 July 2015
UN Women’s Committee makes inquiry into sexual and reproductive health rights in the Philippines
UN Women’s Committee makes inquiry into sexual and reproductive health rights in the Philippines
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women issues its findings on a sexual and reproductive health rights violations inquiry in the Philippines.
23 June 2015
Girls’ education key to eliminating discrimination
Girls’ education key to eliminating discrimination
To achieve the fundamental principle of equality between men and women, we need to dismantle outmoded and harmful stereotypes that prevent women and girls from reaching their full potential, said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Zeid made his comment during a panel discussion on girls’ education, which took place during the 29th session of the Human Rights Council.
22 June 2015
Human Rights Council calls for the investigation of the atrocities committed by Boko Haram
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.
8 April 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
Honouring Women Human Rights Defenders
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.
6 March 2015
Attacks against girls’ education on the increase
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.
9 February 2015
Campaign Honours Women Human Rights Defenders
Campaign Honours Women Human Rights Defenders
Nearly twenty years after the landmark Beijing World Conference on Women, the UN Human Rights Office is honouring women’s human rights defenders through the #reflect2protect campaign.
12 December 2014
Small arms: A disproportionate impact on women
Small arms: A disproportionate impact on women
Arms control is a human rights issue as small arms proliferation inhibits development and humanitarian efforts, says Dr. Anna Alvazzi del Frate, Research director of the NGO Small Arms Survey. Alvazzi says information is key to helping to prevent this violence.
25 November 2014
Forced and early marriage: the story of Maysoun, a child bride
Forced and early marriage: the story of Maysoun, a child bride
Maysoun was forced to marry at the age of 15. She was exploited, abused and when she fell ill, her husband left her. Although deeply traumatized by her experiences, Maysoun eventually recovered with the specialized assistance provided by a local non-governmental organization financially supported by the UN Slavery Fund and was able to restart her life.
24 November 2014