​​​​​How we make a difference 2020

Justice delayed but not denied: transitional justice in El Salvador
Since 2016, the UN Human Rights Office has provided technical and legal support and assistance to State institutions and officials, civil society organizations and others in El Salvador. The work is aimed at contributing to providing justice, recognition and reparations for those affected by the 12-year civil war.
Act now to stop COVID-19 ‘rampaging through prisons’
Bachelet calls on governments to take urgent action to stop COVID-19 sweeping through places of detention where people are often extremely vulnerable to infection.
Bachelet calls for easing of sanctions to enable fight against COVID-19
Both for global public health reasons, and to support the rights and lives of millions of people in these countries, sectoral sanctions in Iran, Venezuela and other countries should be eased or suspended, the High Commissioner said.
COVID-19 and its human rights dimensions
Respect for human rights is fundamental to the success of the public health response to COVID-19. Now is the time for solidarity and cooperation to tackle the virus.
COVID-19 and human rights
The UN human rights system, including UN High Human Rights Chief, Michelle Bachelet, have encouraged us to keep in mind the most vulnerable individuals and groups, and to ensure they are protected during this crisis.
UN expert urges action against xenophobia related to COVID-19
Governments must ensure that their response to the COVID-19 pandemic does not contribute to xenophobia and racial discrimination, said the UN Special Rapporteur on racism.
#FightRacism: Interview with British football star Raheem Sterling
#FightRacism: Manchester City Football star Raheem Sterling speaks out against racism on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
On International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination join us to #FightRacism every day, everywhere.
Children provide insight and advice at CRC meeting in Samoa
In a historic outreach session, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child met with government officials, NGOs and children to discuss the state of child rights in the Pacific.
Expert calls for resolution on right to healthy environment
David Boyd, Special Rapporteur on human rights and environment, called on the Human Rights Council to pass a resolution recognizing the right to a healthy environment, saying it would lead to stronger State actions on environment.
Coronavirus impact on human rights
Bachelet urges States to ensure human rights are front and centre in their response to COVID-19, protecting the most vulnerable both medically and economically.
Reflecting on 25 years of women’s rights action
Twenty-five years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, experts celebrate that document’s vision of women’s rights and discuss its continued relevance to address remaining and new challenges.
High Commissioner updates the Human Rights Council on human rights concerns, and progress, across the world
Raising many serious concerns – including the COVID-19 epidemic – the High Commissioner emphasised that upholding human rights can strengthen the effectiveness of policies and boost societies’ resilience
Stand up for human rights
Join us in promoting and defending human rights for everyone, everywhere. Stand up for human rights and take action for stronger respect, greater freedom and more compassion.
#IStandwithHer: It is time to change the story
Gender stereotypes lie at the heart of discriminatory attitudes, policies and laws. They are so deeply ingrained that we often replicate them unconsciously. On International Women’s Day, join us to change discriminatory narrative and demand more equal and inclusive societies.
Threats to human rights are rising – but so are solutions, High Commissioner says
Opening the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet said “Today’s turbulent political landscape requires usable policy tools that are rooted in experience, with a proven track record. These tools exist.”
A call to action for human rights
Calling human rights “part of the very identity of the United Nations,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres outlined a commitment to step up action on human rights in seven key areas.
#WikiForHumanRights: Promoting knowledge of human rights in a multilingual world
Launched in partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, our #WikiForHumanRights campaign resulted in the improvement of 721 quality articles about human rights in 12 languages on Wikipedia.
Six years after killings in Ukraine, justice remains elusive
Between January and February 2014, during Ukraine’s months-long Maidan protests, eighty-three protestors, thirteen law-enforcement officers, a journalist and one bystander were killed or died violently. Six years on, weaknesses in the justice system have prevented investigations and prosecution of perpetrators from progressing further.
Multilateralism in action: cooperating with the OSCE to prevent crises and uphold human rights
“We can choose to work for peace – or we can watch as grievances fester and build up, until violence escalates into conflict,” the High Commissioner said at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. “Peace depends on us.” She emphasised the increasing effectiveness of cooperation between the Office and OSCE bodies.
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.