How we make a difference 2012

Women in Casamance unite for peace
Weary of the three decade-long civil strife in the region of Casamance, southern Senegal, women’s associations speak-up for the peaceful and inclusive resolution of the conflict.
A long way to go: progress in combatting violence against women in Afghanistan
The latest United Nations report on violence against women in Afghanistan describes renewed concerns that “conservative elements resistant to women’s rights are again gaining strength.”
Fighting widowhood practices that enable violence against women in Togo
A traditional leader’s commitment to promoting and protecting women’s rights in his community is changing widowhood customs across Togo.
Combatting racist messages in the virtual world
The Internet has become a leading source for receiving and sending information all over the world. It is also used by extremist groups and individuals to spread messages of hate and incite racial violence, says a UN Human Rights Expert.
Preventing violence against women, no excuses for inaction
To commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a panel discussion was held in Geneva on the challenges and trends in violence against women and girls.
Making human rights a priority for business
The United Nations inaugural Forum on Business and Human Rights brought 1,000 State, business and civil society participants together to address business impacts on human rights.
Violence against women: a focus of the Papua New Guinea Human Rights Film Festival
The annual Human Rights Film Festival in Papua New Guinea focuses on violence against women as one of its themes in 2012.
Protecting women from the impact of enforced disappearances
The Working Group on Enforced Disappearances focuses on the impact of enforced disappearances on women and ways to protect them from that practice.
UN taps celebrity power in fight against homophobia
Pop singer Ricky Martin and the “Princess of Africa” Yvonne Chaka Chaka stand with UN chief Ban Ki-moon to call for an end to violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Your voice counts: Human Rights Day 2012 promotes participation in public life
On Human Rights Day 2012, United Nations Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay says, “No matter who you are, or where you live, under international law, your voice counts.”
Human Rights Day: “My voice counts”
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay supports people campaigning for their right to be included and to participate in the public lives of their communities.
Rights Declaration is new bedtime story in Room Mate Hotel chain
Spanish hotel chain, Room Mate Hotels, will place copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its hotel rooms worldwide, starting 10 December 2012.
Minority forum marks 20 years of rights advocacy
The fifth annual session of the Forum on Minority draws up recommendations for the effective implementation of the two decades-old UN Minority Rights Declaration.
Closing the circle for victims of torture
The UN Committee against Torture calls for an end to amnesties for the perpetrators of torture and ill-treatment.
UN report exposes mass killings in eastern DR Congo
April to September 2012 attacks by armed groups in the North Kivu DR Congo leave 264 dead, including 83 children, a new UN report reveals.
A story of Inclusion: Ramona Constantin’s struggle
As a former migrant from Romania, Ramona Constantin has finally found her voice in her Manchester community and is working to help other Roma’s become active participants in community life.
High hopes that human rights momentum will continue in Timor-Leste
Louis Gentile, the head of the UN Human Rights office in Timor-Leste, talks about accomplishments and challenges as the UN peacekeeping mission is ending its operations in the country.
Minority Fellow Fuad Ahmed Al-Selwi: defending the rights of the Al-Akhdam community in Yemen
Fuad Ahmed Al-Selwi, a participant in the UN Human Rights Office Minorities Fellowship Programme wants to introduce fellow members of his Al-Akhdam community in Yemen to the idea of freedom.
“Every citizen has the right to have a say”
Several countries across the Middle East and North Africa turn to transitional justice principles to assist in the move away from authoritarianism to more democratic and inclusive systems of governance.
Hear Our Voices—Children in Immigration Detention
All over the world, thousands of children in an irregular migration situation are detained in prisons or detention centres. Some of these former detainees were able to share their stories.
General Assembly elects 18 countries to serve on UN Human Rights Council
General Assembly elected 18 countries to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for a period of three years beginning on 1 January 2013.
The right to keep or change one’s beliefs
The UN independent expert on freedom of religion urges States consistently to respect, protect and promote the human right to freedom of religion or belief in the area of conversion.
Women’s cultural rights: empowering and transformative
Farida Shaheed, UN expert in the field of cultural rights, proposes to shift the paradigm from one that views culture merely as an obstacle to women’s rights to one that seeks to ensure women’s equal enjoyment of cultural rights.
Indicators: essential tools in the realization of human rights
Ground breaking work from the UN Human Rights Office - UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay introduces a guide to human rights indicators.
Mohamed El Hor Abeidy from the Haratin community in Mauritania
Mohamed El Hor Abeidy says through his participation in the UN Human Rights office Minorities Fellowship Programme he expects to learn more about the UN human rights system “which will enable us to defend our rights without violating the rights of others
Austerity measures may violate human rights
As governments respond to public deficits by tightening their belts, they risk failing in their international obligations to protect social and economic rights.
Integrating a human rights approach in a toxic environment
The poor management of hazardous substances and waste produced by extractive industries continues to have a negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights, says UN Human Rights expert on toxic waste.
Despite progress in abolishing the death penalty, thousands remain on death row
As the number of States with the death penalty on their statute books falls, still thousands of prisoners remain on death row. The UN Human Rights Office supports the United Nations in its campaign to end executions globally.
Striking a balance between freedom of expression and the prohibition of incitement to hatred
Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kyung-wha Kang says, “Freedom of religion cannot exist if freedom of expression is not respected.” The two are “mutually dependent and reinforcing”, she says.
Consolidating the rights of women in conflict and post-conflict situations
Human rights experts examine protecting the rights of women in conflict and post-conflict situations in French speaking African countries.
A million children in detention at risk of violence
With more than a million child detainees around the world subjected to violence and other human rights abuses, United Nations agencies advocate for alternatives to detention.
Recognizing the exceptional work in defence of human rights
In recognition of his work, Luon Sovath was awarded the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.
Not a single girl should be forced to marry - UN experts
The first International Day of the Girl Child denounces a slavery-like reality for victims of forced marriages worldwide.
Globalization – a paradox of perils and opportunities
The importance of people-centred development in an increasingly globalized world is the focus of this year’s Social Forum in Geneva.
UN report sheds light on violations during decade-long Nepal conflict
The UN Human Rights Office issues a 234-page study of the serious human rights violations which occurred during Nepal’s internal conflict from 1996 to 2006.
Stigma: an obstacle to universal access to water and sanitation
Stigma and the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation is the focus of a report of the UN expert on water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque.
Rule of law without human rights is an empty shell
At a United Nations meeting on the rule of law, world leaders reaffirm linkages between human rights, rule of law and democracy and make pledges to strengthen the rule of law.
Older persons, “free and equal in dignity and rights”
By 2050, seniors will represent 20% of the world’s population. However, their rights are not well-protected in the current international human rights framework.
Minority Fellow Maha Rashed: speaking up for the rights of Al-Akhdam women
“They are isolated from society,” says Maha Rashed, of her own community—the Al-Akhdam minority group in Yemen. Rashed participated in the UN Human Rights Office Minorities Fellowship Programme in Geneva.
Urbanization without human rights, a recipe for failure
The future of cities is compromised as long as human rights are not at the center of urban development, says UN Senior Official, on the occasion of UN World Habitat Day.
Mandela: an exemplary citizen with a steadfast belief in human rights
The UN Human Rights Council reflects on the protection and promotion of human rights through the values of reconciliation, peace, freedom and racial equality as espoused by Nelson Mandela.
Seeking ways to eliminate human trafficking in Niger
Hundreds of thousands of people each year fall prey to human traffickers worldwide. Lawyers and human rights experts in Niger examine how to consolidate the fight against trafficking in humans in the country and the sub region.
The destruction of cultural and religious sites: a violation of human rights
Destruction of cultural and religious sites constitutes a violation of human rights.
UN leads the way on disability rights
Government, civil society and United Nations representatives discuss ways to strengthen protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities.
“A Path to Dignity: The Power of Human Rights Education”
A documentary film on the positive impact of human rights education in people’s lives is launched by the UN Human Rights Office together with two civil society organizations.
Visitors learn about human rights at United Nations Open Day
More than 9,000 people attended the United Nations Open Day event in Geneva where they had the unique opportunity to become more acquainted with the UN and human rights.
Commission of Inquiry on Syria: civilians bearing the brunt of the “unrelenting spiral of violence”
The Commission of Inquiry on Syria alerts the Human Rights Council on escalating levels of violence and renews its call for a diplomatic resolution of the conflict in Syria.
Human Rights highlighted at United Nations Open Day
The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) will open Ariana Park and some areas of the Palais des Nations to the public for an Open Day event on Saturday, 15 September.
Born Free and Equal
A new publication of the UN Human Rights Office sets out the source and scope of State obligations under international human rights law to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Ending the recruitment of child soldiers
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict appeals to the Human Rights Council for greater protection of conflict-affected children.
The 21st session of the Human Rights Council opens in Geneva
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay open the 21st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Combining modern and traditional systems to protect indigenous land
Patricia Wattimena works for the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance in the Archipelago, an independent movement that fights for the protection of indigenous peoples’ land and resources.
Female Genital Mutilation: over 3 million women and girls are at risk
Female Genital Mutilation is fostered by a climate of impunity, lower socioeconomic status of women and girls which is reinforced by widespread poverty and insecurity and traditions.
Enforced Disappearances: progress and challenges in South America
To pay tribute to those who have disappeared, as well to their families and friends, the United Nations proclaimed 30 August as the UN International Day of the Disappeared.
Armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo violating human rights
“The deterioration of the overall security situation in North Kivu following the M23 mutiny and related ruthless attacks against civilians is extremely alarming,” said Special Representative for the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) Roger Meece.
Busting the myth that sterilization can end AIDS
An alarming number of women living with HIV around the world are still subjected to forced and coerced sterilization or abortion because of their HIV status.
Combat xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance at all costs
Experts’ panel at the United Nations in Geneva discuss historical, cultural and legal aspects of the promotion and protection human rights in a multicultural context.
UN human rights colleagues honoured at a memorial ceremony in Geneva
A memorial ceremony is held at the UN Human Rights office in Geneva to honour colleagues who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Dying to tell the story: Safety of journalists in conflict
Despite UN and civil society efforts to strengthen the safety of journalists covering conflict, their job remains dangerous.
Husam Abdullah Ali: human rights activist from Iraq
“The right to language and education for all should be guaranteed,” says Husam Abdullah Ali, a 28-year-old human rights activist who participated in the UN Human Rights office Minorities Fellowship Programme in Geneva.
Impunity for violence against women is a global concern
Globally the prevalence of different manifestations of killings targeting women is increasing and a lack of accountability for such crimes remains a concern.
Congolese face increasing threat of forced recruitment by armed groups
“I was captured in a town in the east of the DR Congo by the M23 armed group, tied up and forced to follow the combatants on foot to their training camp. There I was told I was to fight,” recalls Thomas, 20 years old.
Fighting for the right to protect Māori culture
Right to land and protection of culture are key issues for Carwyn Jones, member of a Māori nation in New Zealand and a UN Human Rights Indigenous Fellow.
Defender of migrants rights returns to Mexico amidst heightened security measures
Migrants transiting through Mexico have regained one of their staunchest defenders, Father Alejandro Solalinde, who, after leaving Mexico, has returned safely to the migrant shelter he has run for several years.
How women's rights treaty serves Jamaican women
Joyce Hewett, representing Jamaican NGOs at the 52nd session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, explains why the work of the Committee is important to women in her country.
Tunisia holds national consultation ahead of drafting of Constitution
Tunisians hold national consultations ahead of drafting of Constitution exercising their legitimate right and prevent future human rights violations.
Supporting women human rights defenders
“Although much progress has been made in realizing women’s rights, we must acknowledge that we still live in a world where women face serious inequalities in all spheres of life—at home, at work, in communities and in politics,”.
Human rights-based perspective is urged in prosecuting crimes of trafficking in persons
States must respect and protect the rights of trafficking victims in their criminal justice responses to trafficking in persons.
Learning to negotiate human rights
United Nations diplomats expand their knowledge of human rights and how to reflect them in their work
Commemoration of International Criminal Justice Day
Every State has an obligation to protect its people against gross violations of human rights, and to address any violations that are committed.
Heavily indebted States must not sideline their human rights obligations
External debt creditors and debtors should take responsibility for preventing and resolving unsustainable debt situations.
Fair trial and due process in the counter-terrorism context
Experts and practitioners discuss how to better protect human rights while responding to terrorism in Europe.
Minority Fellow: Enam Abuljalil El Asfour
“I work at the national level to reduce the gap between the different components of the Saudi Arabian population and to flatten the differences between social groups,” says UN Human Rights Minority Fellow Enam Abuljalil El Asfour.
Women’s rights body rules on Kell v. Canada complaint
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women rules in favour of Cecilia Kell, an indigenous Canadian, in her case against Canada.
South Sudan marks first independence anniversary amid human rights challenges
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011, formally seceding from Sudan following a United Nations-facilitated peace process that ended decades of conflict.
Working towards more women leaders
UN women’s rights committee celebrates 30th anniversary with a focus on women’s political participation and leadership
Making it safer to express dissenting views through peaceful assembly and association
“It is astonishing how often States have violated the right of individuals to assemble peacefully, including by violating their rights to life and to be free from torture, rights which allow no limitation,” says Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai.
Strengthening the protection of women and girls with disabilities, a priority
The Chief of the Rule of Law, Equality and Non Discrimination Branch in the UN Human Rights Office states that strengthening the protection of women and girls with disabilities remains a priority.
Protecting the lives of journalists
“The most extreme form of censorship is to kill a journalist,” Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns said in his latest report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the 20th Session in Geneva.
UN expert on counterterrorism urges for international action for victims’ rights, their protection and compensation
UN expert calls for international action to recognize and protect rights of terrorism victims and an offer of compensation
Imprisoning migrants is not the answer, says UN expert
The detention of irregular migrants should be a measure of last resort, says the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.
Militarization of Syrian conflict must be stopped, says UN human rights chief Navi Pillay
The UN Human Rights Chief reiterated her call for accountability for all human rights violations and that the situation should be referred to the International Criminal Court; citing evidence points to crimes against humanity.
Calls for end to death penalty
With United Nations member countries set to discuss the abolition of the death penalty later this year, activists and top UN officials call for an end to capital punishment.
More human rights abuses in Syria as conflict escalates - Commission of Inquiry
The Commission of Inquiry on Syria presents its report to the Human Rights Council on the events in Al-Houla, amidst fears of further militarization of the crisis and worsening human rights violations in Syria.
Mechanisms to prevent torture in South America: the way forward for Chile
Human rights experts from the Americas discuss the establishment and role of national mechanisms to prevent torture in detention.
Wanted: New ways to protect civilians in conflict
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, says international community has a responsibility to use every tool available to protect civilians in armed conflict.
Land, fisheries and forests – the first global agreement on tenure guidelines
A major advance in global efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty – global agreement reached on voluntary guidelines for the tenure of land, fisheries and forests.
A call to save the human rights treaty body system
UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay calls for the strengthening of the current human rights treaty body system. “Let us not lose the moment, for the system requires action, and action now,” Pillay said.
The right to send out “inconvenient” information
Journalists should not be intimidated, imprisoned, tortured or killed for telling “inconvenient” truths, notes the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, in his latest report to the Human Rights Council.
Saying no to landmines and promoting the rights of landmines survivors
In addition to overcoming physical trauma, landmine survivors struggle to achieve social acceptance, gain meaningful employment, receive physical rehabilitation and psychological and social support and ensure that their rights are respected.
The 20th session of the Human Rights Council begins
The Human Rights Council starts its 20th session in Geneva and hears the reports of independent human rights experts and the Commission of Inquiry on Syria.
The human right to safe drinking water and sanitation
The UN expert on water and sanitation calls for explicit references to the human right to water and sanitation in the outcome document from the Rio + 20 Conference.
A call to protect indigenous communities from waste producing industries
Toxic waste from mining activities and nuclear testing can contaminate the land and water of communities for decades. Serious health effects and pollution interrupt traditional ways of life, according to reports from two UN experts.
UN officials press for united action to end Syria crisis
Amid growing atrocities and little evidence that the Syrian Government is living up to its commitment to stop the ongoing violence, United Nations officials urge the world community to act with one voice to end the crisis.
Freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly
States must find a balance between their duty to protect and the responsibility to guarantee freedoms says Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang addressing a conference in the Middle East.
Rio+20 and human rights on social media: “The Future We Want”
On the occasion of Rio+20, the UN Human Rights Office launches a social media campaign inviting people to speak up for human rights in “The Future We Want.”
UN Human Rights council holds a fourth special session to discuss the Syrian crisis
In a statement read on her behalf by Marcia V.J.Kran, Director at the UN Human Rights office, Pillay called for an “immediate end to all forms of violence and human rights violations by all parties.”
Respect and protect human rights in Iraq
The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN Human Rights Office issue their report on the human rights situation in Iraq, which remains fragile.
Novel effort to prevent torture reaches milestone
While torture remains a reality in all regions, a pioneering mechanism adopted 10 years ago to prevent the practice gains ground.
Empowering women and girls through sport
Discrimination against women and girls in sport and physical education is widespread in several countries around the world.
UN Human Rights Chief ends first ever mission to Zimbabwe
UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay ending her official visit to Zimbabwe called for violence free elections and urged countries applying sanctions on Zimbabwe to suspend them, until the conduct and outcome of the elections and related reforms are clear.
Congolese migrants suffer dire abuses in Angola
Beaten, raped, robbed and humiliated, thousands of Congolese migrants leave Angola with nothing but shattered dreams.
Prakash Mohara from Nepal: campaigning against caste-based discrimination
Prakash Mohara plans to use the knowledge and experience he gained from the UN Human Rights office Minorities Fellowship Programme in his campaign to ensure justice and equal rights for members of the Dalit community in his home country of Nepal.
Next year’s Zimbabwe elections should be free and fair
UN Human Rights Chief is on a five-day official visit to Zimbabwe where she met with government officials, civil society and other stakeholders – in a bid to understand the human rights situation on the ground.
Somalia’s Prime Minister: We are committed to human rights
The Transitional Federal Government of Somalia commits to improving human rights by 2015, signing a landmark agreement on technical assistance with the UN.
Human Rights Chief Pillay visits the world’s newest State: South Sudan
On a visit to the world’s newest State, South Sudan, Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay urges the Government to ratify all of the main human rights treaties.
Healing the wounds of the past for a better future in Togo
The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission of Togo releases its final report on half a century of political violence in that country.
Placing human rights and development at the centre of globalization
In an era of globalization, the UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay calls on UNCTAD XIII to ensure more participation, transparency and accountability in development.
Sudan border disputes, a cause of human rights concern
On her first mission to the world’s newest state, South Sudan, UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay has raised concerns over the border disputes with Sudan: “It is a human rights challenge because it is affecting civilians.”
Witness protection in Kosovo*
The UN Human Rights office assists in building a victim and witness protection program in Kosovo. * Reference to Kosovo should be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council res 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo
Promoting women’s rights in conflict and post-conflict situations
Access to justice, equal participation of women in peacebuilding, economic opportunities for women in post conflict situations and violence are some of the challenges faced by women in conflict and post-conflict situations.
Tunisia closes the doors of the inhumane Ennadhour prison
The closure of Tunisia’s infamous Ennadhour prison is an important start in “shedding horrific practices of the past,” says UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay, who urges further prison reform.
Freedom of the Press: in the Middle East, widely curtailed and often violated
On World Press Freedom Day 2012 the UN Human Rights office in the Middle East draws attention to the dangers and restrictions faced by journalists in many countries in the region.
Wanted: Human Rights in Rio
Civil society and UN experts call for an inclusive, just and equitable outcome at the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
Protecting the right to food: Lessons from Eastern and Southern Africa
“Political will, civil society participation and empowerment, and the establishment of monitoring mechanisms are key elements of any strategy against hunger,” says Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food.
UN Human Rights Chief lauds Special Sierra Leone Court’s verdict
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has lauded the ruling of the Special Court for Sierra Leone which today found former Liberian leader Charles Taylor guilty of planning, aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Building an understanding of human rights in the classroom
‘Teach ins’ with a focus on human rights are held in schools throughout Lebanon to launch an education initiative designed to encourage development of a human rights culture.
A one-of-a-kind UN Human Rights database
The updated Universal Human Rights Index database puts more than a decade of human rights data and recommendations at your fingertips.
The Minority Rights Declaration at 20
An expert panel reflects on 20 years of achievements in promoting the rights of national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities
Tunisia: after the Jasmine Revolution, treading the road to democracy
The Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights encourages progress in achieving reforms in Tunisia.
Rapping silently for equality
UN teams up with Finnish hip-hop artist Signmark to promote the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Addressing impunity in Somalia
UN human rights officers assist the Transitional Government of Somalia restore judicial structures , and rebuild following two decades of violence which destroyed rule of law institutions in the country.
Deputy High Commissioner in Chad and Niger
UN Deputy Human Rights Chief ends first high-level OHCHR mission to Chad and Niger.
Crossing borders: for millions of people on the move, borders can be a dangerous space
Land, sea and air borders are increasingly dangerous places for migrants, particularly those in irregular situations who commonly experience discrimination, violence and dangerous interception practices.
Who will protect environmental human rights defenders?
UN expert says that environmental human rights defenders face “extraordinary risks” to their safety.
Stronger treaty monitoring for better human rights results
With the UN’s human rights treaty monitoring system stretched, the international community discusses means to strengthen the system and its role in protecting human rights.
Strengthening the bond between parliaments and national human rights institutions
The Belgrade Principles agreed early 2012 offer a clear framework to optimize cooperation between national human rights institutions and parliaments.
Discrimination increases vulnerability to HIV
HIV is now in its fourth decade since it was first diagnosed. There have been major milestones in HIV prevention, treatment, care of support, but there remain a number of challenges, a UN Human rights council panel has heard.
In the aftermath of disasters children are at great risk
International cooperation is necessary to protect the millions of children left vulnerable to abuse and exploitation following natural disasters.
Right to food: the impacts of bad diets
In his new report to the UN Human Rights Council, Olivier De Schutter, the UN independent expert on the right to food, addresses the links between health and malnutrition.
People-centred Development: What the Arab Spring taught us
Economic growth without decent jobs, social inclusion and fair distribution of benefits is not true development.
Children and the justice system
Addressing the Human Rights Council, UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay says imprisonment of children should be considered only as a last resort.
“My name is not XX”: searching for the truth by naming the disappeared
The right to the truth was first recognized in cases of missing and disappeared persons. Its importance in that context has not abated, but the right has evolved and its application has been extended to other gross violations of human rights.
A global human rights map: The Universal Periodic Review goes into its second round
The UN Human Rights Council marks a historic milestone closing off the first round of its Universal Periodic Review, the assessment of States’ human rights progress.
Racism ignites conflict and it must be challenged at all levels
A UN Human Rights office’s event to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination heard how racism and xenophobia propel and incite conflict.
Serious human rights violations during DRC Elections
A UN Human Rights report finds serious human rights violations, including killings, disappearances and arbitrary detention, committed by Democratic Republic of the Congo security forces during last year’s elections.
Number crunching human rights
Ground-breaking work by the UN Human Rights office helps resolve and order the reporting of progress in meeting human rights obligations.
No boundaries for climate change
A UN Human Rights Council expert meeting addresses the adverse impacts of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights.
Stories of abuse and violations but also of perseverance and optimism: UN Human Rights Chief in Guatemala
UN Human Rights Chief visits Guatemala to discuss human rights issues.
The UN Human Rights office working to build capacity
The UN Human Rights office assists many countries globally to develop the technical expertise necessary to implement, measure and report on their obligations as signatories and parties to international human rights conventions and treaties.
Ensuring the right to fair trial for terrorist suspects
According to the UN, the measures adopted by some States in their fight against terrorism infringe basic standards of fair trial and due process, and have a disproportionate and excessive negative impact on human rights.
Women: vital actors of change
Some of the world’s leading human rights activists, politicians and thinkers gather at the UN in Geneva to reflect on the impact of the global climate, food and financial crisis on women and the role women play in promoting peace and human rights.
“The world is moving online”: promoting freedom of expression
The UN Human Rights Council holds its first-ever panel discussion on the right to freedom of expression on the Internet.
Human rights violations and war crimes committed by both sides – the latest report on Libya
The International Commission of Inquiry on Libya has found that serious human rights violations and war crimes were committed by both sides in Libya through 2011.
A stain on our collective conscience
UN Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon calls on members of the Human Rights Council and “all people of conscience” to act now to put an end to violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
A right to choose for persons with disabilities
States that have endorsed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities should ease the participation of all persons with disabilities in the political and public life of their countries.
2011 was a year critical for human rights
UN Human Rights Chief, Navi Pillay, presents her annual report to the Human Rights Council.
Using geography to protect human rights
Satellite imagery can provide evidence of gross human rights abuses, ranging from burnt villages to mass graves
The Human Rights Council calls on the Syrian Government to immediately end attacks on civilians
Condemning the continued widespread and systematic human rights violations in Syria, the Human Rights Council passes a resolution calling for an immediate end to all human rights violations and attacks against Syrian civilians.
Combating homophobic violence against women
A combination of legal reforms and public education needed to combat discrimination and violence against lesbians, bisexual women and transgender persons.
Harnessing the potential of sports for human rights
“Both sport and human rights share many fundamental values and objectives,” says Pillay at a UN Human Rights Council panel discussion on sport and human rights.
The Human Rights Council holds an urgent debate on Syria
UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay addresses the Human Rights Council urgent debate on Syria, describing the situation in the country as dire and calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to end the fighting and bombardments.
Strengthening human rights starts at home: the Paraguayan experience
The Government of Paraguay presents a National Human Rights Action Plan aimed at improving the human rights situation in the country.
The 19th session of the Human Rights Council opens in Geneva
The Human Rights Council convening for its 19th session immediately schedules an urgent debate on the human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria.
What the victims want: reparations for northern Ugandans
A recent report by the Ugandan Human Rights Commission and the UN Human Rights office highlights remedy and reparations proposals for victims of the northern Ugandan conflict.
Human Rights Council holds its 19th session
Human rights issues, from minority rights to juvenile justice, will be addressed during the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council, which takes place in Geneva from 27 February to 23 March 2012.
Immediate action needed to address conditions of detention in Latin America
The UN Human Rights office calls for action by all States to meet agreed international minimum standards for human treatment and adequate conditions of detention.
States set for second human rights review
In the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, countries are expected to report on human rights commitments made during the first cycle.
Corporations must be held accountable for human rights violations
UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay files a petition supporting the plaintiffs in a landmark case which will determine whether corporations can be sued in the United States for human rights violations committed abroad.
Proper disposal of old electronic equipment key in protection human rights
“Discarded, obsolete, or broken electronic equipment is often transported to destinations where recycling is not regulated,” says Calin Georgescu, the Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on toxic waste.
Human rights chief urges united action on Syria
UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, tells world body to “act now” to end the bloodshed in Syria.
How human rights secure peace
Top UN officials underscore the importance of human rights in preventing and ending conflict.
Getting down to business
The UN Working Group on business and human rights, meeting for the first time, considers a strategy to promote and ensure implementation of the new global standard to prevent and address human rights abuses linked to business practices.
A new roadmap for human rights mechanisms in Africa
UN and African Union special procedures on human rights adopt an innovative roadmap for increased cooperation.
Ending impunity for homophobic killings
UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay welcomes the findings of a court in South Africa, which has handed down long sentences to a group of men found guilty of the brutal murder of a teenager who was living openly as a lesbian.
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.
Afghan civilians continue to die in record numbers
The number of civilians being killed in the conflict in Afghanistan increases in 2011 for the fifth year in a row. New and more deadly tactics by the Taliban are largely to blame says the UN.
Older persons among the poorest in the world
Chronic poverty in old age impacts on a number of human rights and is present in both developed and developing economies.
Strengthening human rights in peace operations
Heads of human rights sections of United Nations peace missions meet in New York to discuss promotion and protection of human rights through peace operations.
Human Rights in Bahrain
A UN Human Rights team recently visited Bahrain after the release of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report on the human rights situation in the country, and emphasizes the need for accountability.
‘A people driven constitution’ – building respect for human rights in Somalia
In Somalia, the UN works to facilitate discussions between the authorities and civil society to ensure respect for human rights is a key feature of the new Constitution.
Human Rights concerns about armed brigades holding detainees in Libya
Addressing the UN Security Council on the situation in Libya, Pillay warned that, “lack of oversight by the central authorities creates an environment conducive to torture and ill treatment.” She urged the Libyan ministry of justice and the prosecutor’s
A Code of Conduct to help protect human rights in Lebanon
A newly adopted Code of Conduct for Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (ISF) will help security forces to effectively protect human rights in Lebanon.
Making “secret plans” to stop tribal fighting and end violence against women
After decades of tribal violence that engulfed the district of Kup, in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, three women mobilised their communities to stop tribal fighting.
“Man up” to end violence against women
Jimmie Briggs, an advocate for the rights of women, founded the Man Up campaign to mobilize young people to take action in their own countries to fight violence against women and girls.
Making a human rights wish
Join United Nations human rights chief, Navi Pillay, and thousands around the world in making a wish for human rights.
“Forgotten Europeans”
The UN Human Rights office and UNICEF are advocating for integration of children with disabilities in communities.
Taking complaints from children into the international arena
UN Human Rights chief, Navi Pillay welcomes the vote by the UN General Assembly which gives children the opportunity to challenge violations of their rights at an international level.
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