Logo Human Rights Day 2011: Celebrate Human Rights

Human Rights Day 2011 - Feature stories

Many inspirational stories from activists campaigning around the globe in 2011 have been carried on our website and can be found here.

 Egyptians hold their national flags and images of victims of the revolution © EPA/ ANDRE PAIN

Social media in Egypt: a powerful tool for political change
“Social networks gave us an opportunity to engage in conversations and to exchange opinions on what was happening,” says Sondos Asem, a human rights activist from Egypt.

 The impact of homophobic violence and discrimination discussed at a Human Rights Day event in New York

Call for States to tackle homophobic bullying
Homophobic bullying of children and young people constitutes a serious human rights challenge that States have a legal obligation as well as moral responsibility to address.

 Navi Pillay cuts a cake to mark Human Rights Day © UN PHOTO/ Ivan Laca

“Do you have a question on human rights?”
During a global social media conversation in New York, UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay answers questions on a wide range of human rights issues.

 A protester holds up a flag with an inscription 'Yemen is the most important' © EPA/ YAHYA ARHAB

The youth of Yemen in the Arab spring
“The revolution gave us the opportunity to get out and speak about human rights and demand them,” says Hend Nasiri, a 21-year-old human rights activist from Yemen.

 A man waves a flag and carries a sign that says 'Ben Ali Leave' © EPA/Lucas Dolega

Campaigning on social networks for human rights in Tunisia
Under the pseudonym of Hamadi Kaloutcha, Sofiane Belhaj, a blogger and human rights defender, has been campaigning on social networks against former President Ben Ali’s regime since 2007.

 Video featuring people from all over the world explaining what human rights means to them © Nick Bertke (Pogo)

Make a wish for Human Rights
What would you wish for? The UN Human Rights office launches its very own Mash Up video as part of its social media campaign launched to celebrate Human Rights on its 10 December birthday. The Mash Up video is there to inspire and help you make a choice.

 Bahraini protesters © EPA/MAZEN MAHDI

A family’s long standing involvement in the fight for human rights
Maryam Al-Khawaja’s father, a prominent human rights activist, taught her what it means to fight for human rights and “to respect others even if you don’t agree with them,” says Al-Khawaja.

 Journalists use internet access from their notebooks in a high velocity train © EPA/ROLF HAID

Freedom of expression everywhere, including in cyberspace
States must guarantee the right to freedom of expression and opinion, including on the Internet, says UN expert.

 Ban Ki Moon addresses a General Assembly side-event on reprisals © UN Photo/ Mark Garten

Preventing intimidation and reprisals against human rights defenders
The UN urges Governments to prevent and refrain from all acts of intimidation or reprisal against those who cooperate with the Organization and other mechanisms on the issue of human rights.

 Protesters in Tunis, capital of Tunisia, January 2011 © EPA/STR

The people of Tunisia cast their votes
UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay urges the people of Tunisia to make their voices heard by casting their votes in Sunday’s i first free elections.

 Libyan rebels fire rockets during fighting in the city of Sirte, October 2011. © EPA/MOHAMED MESSARA

Rebuilding Libya
Concern for the rights of thousands being held in detention in Libya - a senior human rights delegation returns from Libya expressing concern at conditions in the makeshift prisons.

 UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights awards Kasha Nabagesera © Patrick Gillieron Lopreno

Courage is our virtue and freedom is our goal
Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera receives the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders.

 Yemeni  activist Tawakkul Karman co winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize © EPA/YAHYA ARHAB

The Nobel Peace Prize: its youngest-ever winner
“We work for freedom and dignity.” Tawakkul Karman, joint winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize explains the principles that underpin the peaceful struggle for democracy in Yemen.

 Journalists scrambling for information in Mexico City, Mexico, 10 February 2011 - © EPA/Mario Guzmán

Journalism - one of the world’s most dangerous professions
Human rights chief Navi Pillay says States have an obligation to end impunity for attacks against journalists.

 A boat carrying immigrants arrives at the island of Lampedusa, Italy - © EPA Photo/Franco Lannino

In limbo – hundreds of thousands forced to flee North Africa
UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay urges action to protect the thousands of migrants who have fled the upheavals in North Africa.

 President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives addresses the Human Rights Council © UN photo/Jean-Marc Ferre

2011 - A defining geopolitical moment
The Human Rights Council considers the promotion and protection of human rights during peaceful protest movements.

 Demonstrations in Latakia, the principal port city of Syria

Syria in turmoil – the UN Human Rights Council acts again
Allegations of human rights violations arising from this year’s demonstrations in Syria are to be investigated by an international commission of inquiry acting on behalf of the Human Rights Council.

 Today’s hand-held communication technologies have revolutionized  the media

Freedom of expression and new media
For the first time the UN Human Rights Committee considers new media in the context of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, stressing that access must be protected.

 Protestors campaigning for democratic reforms gathered in Cairo, Egypt, February 2011 © EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

Defending defenders
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders says that in many countries it is still very dangerous to be a human rights defender.

 The Internet Freedom Fellows address the audience at an event © Yves Bouvie/US mission photo

Using social media to promote human rights
The Internet Freedom Fellows, a group of bloggers and journalists, gathered at the UN to talk about the importance of a free Internet for the promotion of human rights and freedom of expression.

 Navi Pillay and Mouldi Kéfi plant an olive tree at the opening ceremony in Tunis

Breakthrough in North Africa
UN Human Rights Chief, Navi Pillay, opens the first ever UN human rights office in a Mediterranean North African country, Tunisia.

 UN Human Rights Commissioner with the human rights defender from Tunisia

Human rights chief meets with human rights defenders
UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay meets with human rights defenders from the Middle East and North Africa.

 Thousands of Tunisian demonstrators gather at the Kasba in Tunis

Winds of Change in Tunisia
Collaboration between the UN Human Rights Office and the Tunisian Transitional Government is paving the way for the improvement of the human rights situation in the country.

 Protesters clash with riot police during a demonstration in Athens, Greece

States must comply with regulations when using force during protests – UN Expert
States should comply with international human rights standards in order to protect lives during demonstrations, says the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions.

 World Press Freedom Day marked in Geneva with a round table discussion

Freedom of expression empowers people to claim human rights
On World Press Freedom Day, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay stresses the interface between press freedom and fundamental human rights