​​​​​How we make a difference 2021

Malagasy children to receive human rights education in schools
The UN Country Team and the Ministry of National Education of Madagascar have signed a landmark agreement to provide human rights education in primary and secondary schools across the country.
Surge in violence against children must be addressed with a rights-based approach
The COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating effect on an entire generation is examined in a new report on increased violence and abuse against children in the last year.
Guidance establishes children’s rights carry into digital world
The Child Rights Committee published new legal guidance on how governments should protect children’s rights in the digital environment. General Comment 25 on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment says States have a clear responsibility to provide oversight on how children fare in the digital world.
People of African descent must be part of the climate solution, High Commissioner says
"Generation upon generation of discrimination" shaped today's "immense and disproportionate impacts" of the climate crisis on the rights of people of African descent, the High Commissioner said, in her opening speech to the Working Group of Experts on People of African descent. These roots must be systematically addressed
Report: Online hate increasing against minorities, says expert
A new report by the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Dr Fernand de Varennes, looks at how to address rising online hate speech against minority groups.
"Systemic racism needs a systemic response", says Bachelet on meeting about police violence
The High Commissioner updated the Council on her report on systemic racism by law enforcement agencies, which was mandated after the killing of George Floyd. "Despite the heightened visibility around this issue, incidents of police brutality and racial discrimination against people of African descent continue to occur. It is imperative to end police violence," she said.
Peace One Day Anti-Racism Live Digital Experience
Tune in on 21 March, International Day for the Elimination of Racial discrimination, for the Anti-Racism Live Global Digital Experience from 1.35 p.m. to 10.02 p.m. GMT, presented by our partner Peace One Day.
Youth are standing up against racism
On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 March) we celebrate the young human rights defenders who, through their global engagement for equality and inclusion, build solidarity, lead change and stand up against racism.
The water crisis has a “major impact on human rights” expert says
In his latest report to the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David R. Boyd, describes safe and sufficient water as one of the substantive components of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
Syria: Truth and justice needed more than ever after 10 years of conflict – Bachelet
As Syria marks a decade of violence and conflict, we owe it to the victims to step up the pursuit of truth, justice and reparations, Bachelet says, calling for a particular focus on the plight of the missing and their families.
Syria’s missing: the search for truth, justice and reparation
The families of the tens of thousands of people forcibly disappeared in Syria are demanding answers. Two women tell their stories.
Artificial intelligence ensuring human rights at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals
Propelled by the common goal to make human rights more accessible, an innovative partnership is ensuring human rights guidance is incorporated into the Sustainable Development Goals. How? It’s all thanks to a machine learning algorithm.
Minority rights and the power of art and protest amidst the pandemic
Minorities have been disproportionately negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and art and protest have been seminal to their fight for human rights. However, at the same time, their artistic freedom and cultural rights have been placed at severe risk.
International Women's Day: "It's about time we changed course."
In her address to the Human Rights Council on the occasion of International Women's Day, the High Commissioner said that "the responsibility of our lifetimes is upon us: to create more equitable, inclusive, just, and sustainable post-pandemic societies."
International Women’s Day: Women leaders driving change in a post-COVID-19 world
For more than a year now, women leaders across all ages and walks of life have been instrumental in the response to COVID-19. Ahead of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating their achievements, their inspiring battles for the human rights of women and girls, and sharing their demands for a better post COVID-19 world. Join us.
International Women’s Day: Five women human rights leaders demand a more equal post-pandemic world
Ahead of International Women’s Day, we spoke to five women leaders who have been instrumental in the response to COVID-19. From the climate crisis, to prevention of domestic and sexual violence, to better access to healthcare for minority groups, these inspiring women are leading efforts for a more just, more sustainable ‘new normal.’
We must “revitalise our forces for racial equality and justice,” says COVID-19 panel
While commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, panellists at the Human Rights Council urge Governments and the UN to step up efforts to address the structural racism and racial discrimination revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic that disproportionally affect racial and ethnic minorities.
"The people of Yemen look to us for hope, for help – for life," Bachelet says
At an event to raise funds for humanitarian support to Yemen, the High Commissioner pointed out that the consequences of prolonged hunger – or famine – on the current scale "will reach across the region, and for many generations"
Bachelet updates Human Rights Council on recent human rights issues in more than 50 countries
Focusing on the urgent need to expand people's participation in decisions-making, the High Commissioner deplored that “in every region of the world, people are being left behind – or pushed even further behind – as the coronavirus pandemic gathers pace". "This makes us all weaker," she observed, calling for Council members to "speak out against measures that silence civil society”
Responding to the needs of women, ‘first responders’ to Egypt’s COVID-19 crisis
Entisar Elsaeed, Founder and Director of the Cairo Foundation for Development and Law, has seen the increasing burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in Egypt. She decided to focus the work of her Foundation on the country’s most vulnerable during the crisis.
On Sri Lanka, Bachelet urges Human Rights Council to step up efforts for accountability and redress
In light of the failure to advance domestic justice for human rights violations in Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner called on the Human Rights Council to consider new ways to support accountability at the international level, including for collection and preservation of evidence
Secretary-General Guterres calls for a global reset, "to recover better, guided by human rights"
In a powerful speech to the Human Rights Council that focused on racism, women and the pandemic's impact on human rights, Antonio Guterres said "recovery gives us an opportunity to generate momentum for transformation"
Bachelet calls for stronger support for social protections, free press and public participation in decisions
"The pandemic has ripped the mask off the deadly realities of discrimination; deep inequalities; and chronic under-funding for essential services and rights," the High Commissioner said
Revitalise our action for racial justice, Bachelet tells the Human Rights Council
Marking the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration, the High Commissioner called for strong action to end discrimination, and address its role in "manufacturing poverty"
Myanmar coup is a "profound setback" to human rights; power should be returned to civilian control
Opening a Special Session of the Human Rights Council, the Deputy High Commissioner noted, "The indiscriminate use of lethal or less-than-lethal weapons against peaceful protestors is unacceptable. More violence against Myanmar’s people will only compound the illegitimacy of the coup, and the culpability of its leaders."
Keeping women and girls in Kenya safe during COVID-19
Beatrice Karore, a community mobiliser who helps survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in Kenya, says that violence against women has increased during COVID-19 and uncovered unprecedented mental health needs.
Sri Lanka on alarming path towards recurrence of violations
New report highlights worrying trends, including political obstruction of accountability, militarization of civilian governmental functions and intensified surveillance and harassment of civil society.
The right to education for girls in post-ISIL Iraq
A new report by UN Human Rights looks at girls’ access to education in areas formerly controlled by ISIL in northern Iraq.
Workshop on human rights helps indigenous people battle the pandemic
Indigenous people from several regions in Brazil took part in a workshop to help them better promote and protect their rights during the COVID-19 crisis. The workshop was led by UN Human Rights Senior Indigenous Fellows.
Tackling COVID-19 in Nigeria from a safety education angle
The safety education tools that Ugochi Obidiegwu, Managing partner at The Safety Chic, develops for children and adults have been helping teachers and pupils in Nigeria resume school with minimised danger during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Quest for Justice: A Former Prison Guard from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea speaks out
A former prison guard from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) turned human rights activist is playing an important role in shedding light on human rights violations in the DPRK.
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