​​​​​How we make a difference 2019

A source of life – or a cause for conflict: water is a human right
Surely no development priority speaks more directly to fundamental human dignity than the availability of safe drinking water
Poetry to inspire the fight against racism
21 March is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. To mark that day, UN Human Rights associates itself with poets, musicians and lyricists to inspire us all to fight racism.
Human Rights Council debates racism, nationalism and populism
"You can care about your country and still care about the world": High Commissioner Bachelet vows to fight "all forms of racism, every day of every year"
Monica Benicio, widow of murdered Rio city councillor, Marielle Franco, vows to keep fighting
A year after the murder of Rio Council member, Marielle Franco, her widow brings the struggle of Brazil’s marginalized groups and human rights defenders to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
‘Ghost of corruption’ leads to torture and ill-treatment, UN expert says
The tolerance of abuse of power and corruption in places of detention creates ‘spaces that are not controlled’ according to a new report by Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer.
Attacked because of who they are and what they do
“In the current political climate there is a backlash against human rights. Women defenders are often the first to come under attack,” Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders told members of the Human Rights Council.
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.
High Commissioner Bachelet calls on States to take strong action against inequalities
Human rights build hope. And measures that uphold the full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights create powerful synergies, with better outcomes for everyone.
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.
20 years of the Mine Ban Treaty
The Treaty’s focus on the protection, dignity and rights of individuals makes it an outstanding example of multilateralism
"Human rights-based policies are effective. They deliver better outcomes. They prevent conflicts, and build hope"
High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet opens the 40th session of the Human Rights Council
High Commissioner condemns Venezuela violence
Michelle Bachelet condemns the “disgraceful” violence in Venezuela, urging the Government to stop its forces from using excessive force and to rein in armed pro-Government elements that are attacking protestors.
"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.
Bachelet tells "good human rights stories."
"Human rights are useful. Respect for human rights generates practical benefits in everyday life," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet told an audience recently. She made her comments at the Geneva launch of the “Good Human Rights Stories” initiative, a partnership of 13 organizations and countries dedicated to showing that human rights matter.
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.
Benjamin Orenstein, Holocaust survivor
Benjamin Orenstein, 93, is one of the last witnesses of the Holocaust and the only surviving member of his family who were all executed in the camps. He tells us his story.
"Anyone can use their voice. Believe in yourself."
At 14 years old, water rights activist Autumn Peltier, of the Wikwemikong First Nations community in Ontario, Canada, says helping the environment is something anyone can do at any age. Her activism has earned her a nomination for the 2019 International Children’s Peace Prize.
Missing persons receive attention and help healing in Kosovo*
The Multi-Ethnic Resource Centre on Missing Persons in Kosovo* provides a place for families and representatives from associations across all ethnic lines to cooperate and gather information those missing as a result of the 1998-1999 conflict. The centre was opened with the help of the UN Human Rights Office of UN Mission in Kosovo*
Showcasing human rights success in daily lives
Defending cultural rights of indigenous weavers in Guatemala; challenging discrimination against minorities in Moldova; supporting families of missing persons in South Korea and Kosovo*. As the UN Human Rights Annual Appeal kicks off for 2019, witness the difference our everyday work in human rights makes in people’s lives.
Annual Appeal presentation
The Office is a vital tool for greater prevention, and better protection, around the world.
1,111 days into the 2030 Agenda, are we succeeding in meeting its great goal of leaving no-one behind?
"We need a greater sense of urgency about achieving the Agenda's promise to the world's people," the High Commissioner says.
Stories by year
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