​​​​​How we make a difference 2020

Justice for past crimes can build a shared future
The High Commissioner briefs the Security Council on experiences with transitional justice across the world
Fighting hate speech and incitement to violence in the Syrian media
The prevalence of hate speech and incitement to violence in the Syrian media is driving societal divisions even deeper. A Syrian organisation promoting human rights and justice is working hard to address the issue. Yayha Fares is a Syrian refugee, in charge of the organisation’s hate speech project.
LUCHA rights defender hopes her struggle can bring change in the DR Congo
Rebecca Kabuo is a member of LUCHA (Lutte pour le Changement), a non-violent, non-partisan youth movement that campaigns for good governance in the DR Congo. She wants a country where people have access to clean water, healthcare and security.
Impartial, independent rule of law is vital to sound societies
The rule of law makes institutions accountable for upholding human rights and the fair delivery of public services. And it empowers all individuals – including those who suffer entrenched discrimination -- to claim their rights. But the independence and impartiality of the judiciary is coming under threat in many countries.
Fellow: “Colourism” is a hidden human rights challenge
“There is a correlation between skin colour and social class,” said Stephanie Sewell, a UN Human Rights 2019 African Descent Fellow. Sewell says colourism, discrimination based on skin tone, impacts the human rights of the majority of Jamaicans.
Mueda Nawanat’s fight for the right to nationality
Mueda Nawanat was born without a nationality, and only became a citizen of Thailand, the country where she was born, when she was 21. Today, she is an advocate for stateless people and has helped many obtain citizenship. She is also a UN Human Rights Fellow.
Toolkit aims to link faith and human rights
A new toolkit has been launched looking at the relationship between religions, beliefs and human rights. The #Faith4Rights toolkit is a collaboration of faith-based groups and UN human rights mechanisms.
DR Congo: A “window of opportunity” after peaceful political transition
“The DRC is a huge country with huge problems – but also huge potential. It is poor but it could be rich, with an abundance of valuable minerals, and vast tracts of land that could – should -- be highly productive. Its people are resilient and hard-working,” says UN human rights chief.
Cameroon crisis: preventing the speech that incites violence
Ahead of next month’s elections in Cameroon, UN Human Rights works with the media, civil society and national institutions to find solutions to prevent speech that incites hatred and exacerbates violence in that country.
Human rights education helps protect all societies from the mindset that produced the Nazi Holocaust
75 years after the liberation of the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and the end of the devastating crimes of the Holocaust, violence and discrimination continue to be directed against Jews and others.
From student to human rights defender: the power of human rights education
Premalatha Tamilselvan was 12 years old when she took part in a human rights education programme in her school in a small village in southern India. Nine years later, she came to Geneva, Switzerland to advocate for similar programmes to be rolled out across more schools. 24 January marks the International Day for Education.
High Commissioner Bachelet launches a 2020 funding appeal based on fundamental new challenges
Total extra-budgetary resources required for 2020 amount to US$ 375.5 million, for a programme the High Commissioner termed “unmatched in the history of this Office”
A Syrian lawyer’s battle for justice and human rights
Eight years of devastating conflict in his home country, Syria, have not stopped Jalal Alhamad from fighting for justice. After fleeing his home to neighbouring Turkey, he established a human rights organisation.
UN Human Rights staff member: “You can change your life to help others make a change”
Jamila Mahdi was born in a refugee camp, and was married at 13 years of age. Despite her own childhood being stripped of rights, she was determined to get an education and support her family. A high school diploma and two university degrees later, today she works for UN Human Rights in Iraq.
Using the arts to stand up for human rights
“I believe that we (dancers and artists) have a role in society to defend human rights for our communities,” said a 2019 UN Human Rights Minority Fellow.