How we make a difference 2014

Domestic servitude: Jonalyn’s story
The UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery supports organisations that seek out and assist people in domestic servitude including medical care, basic needs assistance, trauma counselling and legal aid to rebuild their lives.
Child domestic servitude: This is Johanne’s story
When she was nine years old Johanne became a child domestic slave. Forbidden to go to school, instead she was abused and spent her days cooking, cleaning and carrying water in 20 litre buckets, from the communal well, up the hill to her house.
Vietnamese asylum seekers rescued from Cambodian forests
A group of 13 Vietnamese asylum seekers were rescued from the forests of north-eastern Cambodia by a joint team made up of officials from the UN Human Rights Office, UN High Commissioner for Refugee and the Cambodia Ministry of the Interior.
UN rights chief urges return to moratorium as executions resume in Pakistan, Jordan
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, voiced “deep regret” today over the resumption of executions in Pakistan and Jordan at a time when the international community is increasingly turning away from the use of the death penalty.
In Security Council, UN officials urge renewed engagement with DPR Korea on human rights
Briefing the Security Council on the situation in the DPRK, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović highlighted the “widespread and systematic” crimes perpetrated by the Government, as detailed in a recent report produced by the UN Commission of Inquiry.
Caste-based slavery: Rekha’s story
After 18 years of carrying human waste on her head in wicker baskets to a dumpsite outside her village—a practice known as “manual scavenging”, Rekha Bai was able to find an alternative livelihood with the support of an NGO awarded by the UN Slavery Fund.
International Decade of People of African Descent: recognition, justice and development
Around 200 million people identifying themselves as being of African descent live in the Americas, and millions more live in other parts of the world outside the African continent. The international community, in recognition that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected, has proclaimed 2015-2024 International Decade for People of African Descent.
Migrants deserve respect, safety and dignity
In a joint statement issued to commemorate International Migrants’ Day, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and International Labour Organization Director Guy Ryder called on States to recognize that true sustainable development can only be achieved by ensuring that human rights and labour rights form the cornerstone of fair migration policies.
Protecting cultural rights from excessive advertising
States should protect people from undue levels of commercial advertising and marketing while increasing the space for not-for-profit expressions, the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights says. Farida Shaheed made this recommendation in a presentation of a report at the UN General Assembly in New York.
Rebuilding lives after torture – Dieynaba’s story
Dieynaba Ndoye Dieng helps victims affected by torture from all over West Africa
Campaign Honours Women Human Rights Defenders
Nearly twenty years after the landmark Beijing World Conference on Women, the UN Human Rights Office is honouring women’s human rights defenders through the #reflect2protect campaign.
Human rights protection challenges affecting migrants at sea
UN Human Rights Chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, and other heads of UN agencies call on the global community to respect the human rights of migrants at sea.
In Harlem, deputy UN chief cites equality, non-discrimination as ‘absolutely basic to all human rights’
On the eve of the worldwide commemoration of Human Rights Day, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, led in New York’s historic Harlem neighborhood, a public reading of the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Human Rights Day: Human rights matter every day for everyone, everywhere
Human Rights Day 2014 focuses on making human rights a reality for everyone, 365 days a year.
Business and Human Rights: Protect rights and provide remedy
The forum heard that the responsibility to respect human rights and put in place effective remedies, where violations occur, lies primarily with governments but also with business enterprises.
Protect the rights of people with albinism
Tanzania has witnessed a spate of brutal attacks and killings of people with albinism, linked to myths and witchcraft. To protect this vulnerable group, the East African nation has rounded up children with the condition and placed them in holding centres throughout the country.
“For their Sake”: Portraits of Palestinian women refugees from Syria
An online photo gallery gives insight on the lives and human rights situation of women Palestinian Refugees from Syria and their families.
Water and sanitation rights explained
Governments, donors and national regulatory bodies who want to take a human rights approach to water and sanitation provision now have a guide. “Realising the human rights to water and sanitation” is a new handbook that provides information and guidance on how to take a human rights approach to the issue.
Small arms: A disproportionate impact on women
Arms control is a human rights issue as small arms proliferation inhibits development and humanitarian efforts, says Dr. Anna Alvazzi del Frate, Research director of the NGO Small Arms Survey. Alvazzi says information is key to helping to prevent this violence.
Forced and early marriage: the story of Maysoun, a child bride
Maysoun was forced to marry at the age of 15. She was exploited, abused and when she fell ill, her husband left her. Although deeply traumatized by her experiences, Maysoun eventually recovered with the specialized assistance provided by a local non-governmental organization financially supported by the UN Slavery Fund and was able to restart her life.
Strengthening ties to protect people in the Americas
The UN Human Rights Office and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights formalize a mutual understanding to promote and protect human rights in the Americas.
Eradicating harmful practices against women and girls
Two of the UN human rights expert committees, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination again Women and the Committee on the Rights of the Child have joined forces to assist States to put an end to harmful practices primarily affecting women and girls.
International Forum of Muslim women discusses their human rights
The first international forum on Muslim women was held in the Republic of Tatarstan, home to the Russian Federations’ largest Muslim community.
Trafficking for forced labour: Diane’s story
“I worked 19 hours, every day of the week, for a monthly salary of 45 euros.” Diane was trafficked from her home country and then forced to work as a domestic slave. She eventually managed to rebuild her life with the help of an NGO supported by the UN Slavery Fund.
Mayan fellow fights for land, heritage and culture
Miguel de Léon Ceto, a Mayan activist from Guatemala, is one of the participants in the 2014 Indigenous Fellowship Programme. He is working to ensure the land and cultural rights of the Ixil Mayan are respected and protected.
Mass surveillance: exceptional measure or dangerous habit?
Digital communications technologies have revolutionized the way human beings interact, but Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri warns of the very real impact that governmental surveillance of digital communications can have on a range of human rights.
Sex trafficking: Maria’s story
The UN Slavery Fund supports a number of NGOs, which rescue and assist victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and offer specialized support in the reconstruction of their lives.
Plan to protect journalists reviewed
Attacks against journalists and the shocking levels of impunity for those attacks are unacceptable, says UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. There needs to be a coordinated effort from all sides to ensure that each State creates and sustains an enabling environment for journalists.
Worst forms of child labour: Ebo’s story
The UN Slavery Fund financially supports NGOs, which seek out and rescue children like Ebo and provide specialized assistance for their rehabilitation.
The slaves of today: UN action to provide redress and rehabilitation
The UN Slavery Fund providing direct assistance to victims of contemporary forms of slavery appeals for additional donations to undertake its work.
Handprints make peace and a new world record
A new world record for the largest painting made of the imprint of hands belongs to Tunisia. The more than 10,000 square meter canvas was unveiled during the International Peace Festival which took place in all 24 regions of Tunisia.
Armed drones: calls for greater transparency and accountability
The Human Rights Council brings the debate on the use of armed drones to the fore, urging States to be more transparent and to promptly investigate allegations of violations.
Community, religious leaders must condemn ISIL ‘atrocities’ – UN rights official
Civilians continue to suffer atrocities and “dramatic” human rights violations at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), warned United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Mr. Ivan Šimonović, as he concluded his week-long mission to Iraq.
Kamira Nait Sid: advocating for the rights of the Amazigh people in Algeria
Kamira Nait Sid, a participant in the 2014 Indigenous Fellowship Programme of the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva, promotes the Amazigh language, culture and identity in Algeria.
Funding gap looms amid efforts to tackle ‘twin plagues’ Ebola, ISIL, warns UN rights chief
In his first briefing to the press since taking up the four-year post on 1 September, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he was “shocked” that just six weeks into his job, he already had to look at making cuts and “battle” to find resources.
Mexican attorney receives top human rights defender award
Mexican human rights attorney Alejandra Ancheita is the latest recipient of the Martin Ennals Human Rights Defender Award. The Geneva-based award is granted annually to a person who has an exceptional record of fighting against human rights violations.
Supporting children with disabilities into mainstream schools in Moldova
The UN Human Rights Office in Moldova assists parents who have children with disabilities to successfully campaign for places in mainstream schools and kindergartens.
The Long Road to Ending Impunity
The UN Human Rights Office and the UN Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) enforce protection measures to enable victims and witnesses of alleged human rights violations to testify in court.
UN marks World Day against Death Penalty with strong calls to end 'cruel practice'
The continuing application of the death penalty is a “cruel practice” that undermines human dignity, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as he urged Member States to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights” and impose moratoriums on executions.
World must continue to strive for abolition of death penalty, says senior UN official
As long as the death penalty exists, there will be a need to advocate against it, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović, declared today at the launch of a new United Nations publication aimed at raising awareness on the abolition of capital punishment.
Violence against children is unjustifiable and preventable
In order to speed up the end to all violence against children, more needs to be done to tackle the root causes of the violence, tackling the cultural, economic, social and political attitudes that allow it occur.
The UN was a refuge, veteran campaigner says
Human rights campaigner Estela de Carlotto called the United Nations a refuge for herself and her organization during its more than 30-year struggle. The organization, Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, is an Argentina-based NGO that works to locate and reunite children, taken from disappeared parents during the dictatorship, with remaining family.
NGOs are heart of human rights work, HC says
The NGOs are the heart of the human rights process, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein made the analogy during his first official meeting with NGO groups during the 27th Human Rights Council session. More than 260 participants highlighted their concerns and expressed their hopes for his tenure during the meeting.
A human rights approach to reducing child deaths
With more than 6 million children dying before their fifth birthday last year, health decision and policy makers are being offered a more holistic way to look at child mortality. The UN Human Rights Office and the World Health Organization (WHO) have designed the technical guidance for applying a human rights-based approach to improving child mortality rates. The guidance note was launched during the 27th Human Rights Council session.
At high-level event, UN officials call for end to death penalty
The continuing application of capital punishment is a “primitive” practice which has no place in the 21st century, United Nations officials declared today, as they pressed global leaders to set course towards abolishing the death penalty and advancing a more progressive judicial agenda in their respective States.
Out of many perspectives comes one history
History and memorials are not the spoils of the victor. In a panel discussion held during the 27th Human Rights Council, Human Rights special rapporteurs discussed with guests and Member States the best way to ensure that history teaching and memorialization processes are being used as a way of fostering mutual understanding between communities so as not to repeat past wrongs.
Web resource gathers human rights education commitments of States in one place
A web resource called “The Right to Human Rights Education”, which was unveiled during a side event at the 27th session of the Human Rights Council, is a compilation of all the provisions of international and regional instruments that highlight commitments made by States to human rights education.
First World Conference on Indigenous Peoples opens at UN headquarters
The week of high-level events that marks the opening of the United Nations General Assembly's annual general debate kicks off today with the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP).
One Year. One Campaign. One Billion People
A new video looks back on a year of the UN Human Rights Office’s Free & Equal campaign against homophobia and transphobia. In twelve months, the campaign has reached more than a billion people, created a stream of popular video and written content, and spawned national campaigns in countries around the world.
Protecting children’s rights in the digital age
Children’s rights in the digital age are the focus of a day -long discussion organised by UN child rights committee.
An historic debt settled: recognition of indigenous rights in El Salvador
An historic debt has been settled in favour of the indigenous peoples of El Salvador, says UN Human Rights representative, Carmen Rosa Villa Quintana welcoming to an historic parliamentary vote, which recognises the country’s indigenous peoples and commits to policies safeguarding their ethnic and cultural identities.
UN Human Rights Chief Zeid addresses the 27th Human Rights Council session
In his first speech to the Human Rights Council, High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein addresses global human rights challenges and priority areas for his tenure.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, formerly Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, takes up his post as the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Iraq, Syria top priorities for new UN human rights chief
The new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights addressed the Human Rights Council for the first time. Speaking at the opening of the twenty-seventh session, he talked about a number of current human rights challenges.
In Vienna, UN human rights official briefs OSCE on Ukraine
After a visit to Ukraine, Assistant-Secretary General for human rights, Ivan Šimonovic, addressed the Permanent Council of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) at a special session on Ukraine. Here is the text of his statement.
Human Rights Council convenes a Special Session on abuses committed in Iraq by ISIL
The Human Rights Council calls for the investigation of the violations committed by ISIL and its associates in Iraq.
Syria’s brutal war threatens international peace and security
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic says the continuous influx of foreign fighters and the advances of extremist groups has contributed to a spill-over of violence affecting international peace and stability.
NGOs urge US to implement recommendations of UN anti-discrimination body
United States NGOs discuss with UN Human Rights senior official discrimination in the criminal justice system, gun violence, indigenous issues and voting rights for racial and ethnic minorities.
Syria’s brutal war threatens international peace and security, says UN rights panel
In its latest report, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria emphasized that with the continuous influx of foreign fighters and the success of extremist groups, “risks of the conflict spreading further are palpable.”
Ending impunity for femicide across Latin America
Investigators and prosecutors in Latin America now have a guide to assist in investigation and prosecution of femicide – the killing of women because they are women.
Campaigning for the rights of the disabled in the Arab region
Advocates for the human rights of disabled people from the Arab region came together recently and agreed that in general, their equal access to the full range of human rights is not fully acknowledged and funding for the needs of the disabled is inadequate.
The study of human rights becomes a core subject in Kenyan universities
The United Nations Human Rights Office and the University of Nairobi have initialled an agreement ensuring human rights has a place in the curriculum for undergraduate students.
In memory of those who lost their lives working for human rights
On World Humanitarian Day, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay pays tribute to colleagues in her Office and the wider UN who have lost their lives in the course of their humanitarian work.
NGOs bid farewell to High Commissioner Pillay
Geneva-based civil society organizations hold last meeting with UN Human Rights Chief, Navi Pillay, and thank her for her resolute support at the international arena.
Journalists in the Arab World: the courage of speaking the truth to power
Media professionals from the Middle East and North Africa region, participating in a dialogue to encourage a human rights angle in their work, caution that an open and unrestricted environment in which to operate is an essential precondition for high standards of journalism.
The Batwa: promoting social and economic rights in a new environment
Indigenous Fellows Callixte Hategekimana and Yves Minani, from the Batwa communities in Rwanda and Burundi respectively, are working to promote the social and economic rights of the Batwa in their communities.
Painting human rights
Human Rights become part of the urban landscape in Asunción, the capital of Paraguay through the painting of well-known street artist, Oz Montania.
Education unlocks the doors to all other rights
The outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urges a broader approach to the right to education to address the ongoing imbalance of power between men and women in both the public and private spheres.
Ban deplores recent upsurge in anti-Semitic incidents since start of Gaza conflict
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has deplored the recent upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks, particularly in Europe, in connection with protests concerning the escalation of violence in Gaza.
Human trafficking: a multi-billion dollar global business
From the young women who have been enslaved as prostitutes or abused as unpaid domestic workers to the men who have been trapped in everlasting servitude, victims of trafficking have frequently been made vulnerable by structural discrimination and inequalities, said the UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay on the occasion of the first-ever World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
A best-seller: the users’ manual for implementation of human rights indicators
The indicators framework designed by the UN Human Rights Office to assist implementation of public policies, inclusive of the fundamental human rights principles, is fast becoming an essential tool for States, so much so, that the “how-to” Guide has become a ‘best-seller’.
An independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate the conflict in the occupied Palestinian territories
Meeting in Special Session to assess the situation in Gaza, the UN Human Rights Council votes to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the occupied Palestinian territories from the start of the current military operation.
The Human Rights Council holds a Special Session to discuss the current situation in the Gaza Strip
UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay, addressing a Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, reminds all parties to the conflict in Gaza that international law is not negotiable.
UN reports serious human rights violations, potential war crimes in Iraq
The group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its allies are imposing “untold hardship and suffering” on Iraqi civilians, the United Nations said today in a report.
Protecting the rights of indigenous peoples in Southern Africa
A new manual guides National Human Rights Institutions and indigenous communities in promoting the rights of indigenous peoples.
Child and forced marriage - manifestation of gender discrimination
Human rights experts discuss the causes and challenges of child and forced marriage, and solutions to end and prevent that practice.
Alarmed at rising death toll in Gaza, UN rights chief appeals to all sides to protect civilians
Voicing alarm at the Israeli military operations resulting in the killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, as well as the indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel, the United Nations human rights chief appealed to all sides to abide by their obligations to protect civilians.
In Afghanistan, ground combat taking ''devastating civilian toll” UN says
According to a new report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), ground combat among the warring parties surpassed improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as the leading cause of conflict-related death and injury to Afghan civilians in the first six months of 2014.
To protect life- the principle of law enforcement
Law enforcement officials should conform to international human rights standards while using force, says Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on summary executions.
A new approach to public spending
The UN Human Rights Office in Mexico, the Ministry of Interior and the Executive Secretary of Mexico City’s Human Rights Programme have joined forces to promote a human rights approach to public spending in Mexico.
‘Death penalty has no place in 21st century,’ declares UN chief
The death penalty has no place in the 21st century, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared, calling on all States take concrete steps towards abolishing or no longer practicing this form of punishment.
A roadmap agreed for an Arab regional human rights strategy
At an historic meeting in Cairo, the UN Human Rights Office and the League of Arab States set a deadline of 2016 for the development of a human rights strategy in the Arab world.
Summer School on Human Rights ends in Moscow
Seventy five Masters Students, senior undergraduates and post-graduates participate in the second edition of the Summer School on Human Rights programme in Russia.
Burundi: curbs on free expression ahead of elections draw concern of senior UN rights official
Expressing deep concern about growing restrictions on freedom of expression in Burundi, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonovic, today called on the authorities there to ensure that human rights are fully protected ahead of next year’s presidential elections.
Open Wounds: Healing Torture Victims from Syria
Victims of torture from Syria, Yusuf and Abu Yazan, are rebuilding their lives after receiving rehabilitation services from the Restart Center in Northern Lebanon, with the support of the UN Fund for Victims of Torture.
‘It is not a crime to carry a camera,’ UN rights chief warns as Egypt sentences journalists
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed deep concern over a string of recent court decisions in Egypt, including the verdicts and heavy jail sentences handed down to three Al Jazeera journalists.
Faster change needed to eliminate female genital mutilations
“Female genital mutilations (FGM) violate the right to the highest attainable standard of health… and when it results in the death of the person that is mutilated, it violates the right to life,” said UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay.
The harms of gender stereotyping
Gender stereotyping is a form of discrimination against women and a contributing factor to many violations of their rights, say experts at the Human Rights Council.
The conflict in Syria reaches a tipping point: violence at unimaginable levels
Warning of a regional war in the Middle East, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria foresees violent repercussions in Syria from events in neighbouring Iraq.
UN cites total breakdown of law and order in eastern Ukraine
The new report describes the breakdown of law and order in the areas held by armed groups in the country’s east – with increasing evidence of abductions, detentions, torture, and killings.
Bearing the brunt of economic sanctions
Experts discuss the impact on human rights of economic, trade and political sanctions.
General Assembly confirms Jordan’s Prince Zeid as new High Commissioner for Human Rights
The United Nations General Assembly today unanimously approved Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan as the new High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Safety of journalists: States must act to end impunity
UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay says States must act to address impunity: that every act of violence against a journalist that goes uninvestigated and unpunished is an open invitation to further violence.
Global summit - exceptional opportunity to end sexual violence in conflict
A Global Summit aims to identify specific actions by the international community to end sexual violence in conflict.
Working together for human rights in the Euro-Atlantic region
The UN Human Rights Office and the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights agree to strengthen cooperation to promote and protect human rights.
Maya Programme: new paths towards the fulfilment of indigenous peoples’ rights in Guatemala
The UN Human Rights office in Guatemala assists indigenous Maya communities claim their rights through a strategic human rights litigation training programme.
Safety of journalists essential to vibrant, democratic societies, UN rights chief stresses
“The safety of journalists is quite simply essential to the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of all of us, as well as to the right to development,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights delivers her final address to the Human Rights Council
In her final speech to the Human Rights Council, after six years as High Commissioner Pillay said the Human Rights Office had to be protected from financial and political constraints to enable it to operate with integrity and free of political influence.
Taking on the past: the Tunisian Truth and Dignity Commission
Three years on from the January 14 Revolution, Tunisia formally establishes its Truth and Dignity Commission with a mandate to uncover past abuses and offer appropriate redress to victims. UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay welcomes the Commission saying it will help reknit the fabric of society and re-establish a sense of common destiny.
The right to choose and refuse sterilization
States are being urged to legislate to outlaw coercive sterilization and to provide effective redress to those who are unable to have children because of these procedures performed without their knowledge or consent.
Defending the environment: an increasingly deadly preoccupation
John Knox, the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment has called on States to comply with their human rights obligations and ensure that people campaigning for a safe, clean and healthy environment receive appropriate protection.
Facing human rights challenges in DR Congo and Afghanistan
In a series of radio interviews, OHCHR officials talk about the challenges DR Congo and Afghanistan face and what field-based colleagues do to assist those countries.
Open wounds: torture and ill-treatment in Syria
A new thematic paper produced by the UN Human Rights Office on torture in Syria highlights horrific accounts from victims of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by Government forces and some armed opposition groups.
LGBTI in Moldova march for equality
The first LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) pride march, with the full backing of public authorities, was organized in the Republic of Moldova in commemoration of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia by the NGO Gender Doc-M. The UN Human Rights Office supported civil society and State partners in their efforts to ensure that the event took place successfully.
A healthy and sustainable environment needed to protect human rights
From the pollution of air and water to the unsustainable use of natural resources, environmental degradation adversely affects the enjoyment of a broad range of human rights, states a recent report to the UN Human Rights Council.
Ukraine: UN official cites ‘worsening’ human rights situation in southern, eastern regions
Situation in southern and eastern regions of Ukraine has worsened with more weapons being used as well as numerous violations being committed, according to Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights.
Protecting children from violence needs to remain a global priority
“The risk of violence against children remains present in every setting, including those where children should be safest – in schools, in care and justice institutions and also within their homes. The risk of violence in even heightened in the context of work”, said the UN Special Representative on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais.
Powerful New Video on the International Day against Homophobia & Transphobia
The UN Human Rights Office has released a compelling new video to encourage people to share their stories and speak up in support of LGBT friends, colleagues and family members on the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The right to take risks and make mistakes: equal recognition before the law for people with disabilities
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities finds that all too often people with disabilities do not enjoy legal equality, which affects their capacity to make fundamental decisions affecting their health, education, work, relationships and political participation.
Philippines: Justice in the wake of natural disaster
The UN Human Rights Office partners with the Philippines Human Rights Commission to shore up the justice system after Typhoon Haiyan.
OHCHR launches UN’s first ever Bollywood music video against homophobia
The UN Human Rights Office has released the UN’s first ever Bollywood-style music video to promote its Free & Equal anti-homophobia campaign in India.
Tajikistan revamps housing legislation
To address the urgent need to upgrade Tajikistan’s housing legislation and policies, the UN Human Rights Regional Office in Central Asia is supporting the development of a new Housing Code in the country, which will provide more rights to property owners.
South Sudan leaders must bring the conflict to an end
UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay expressed concern that neither South Sudan’s political leaders nor the international community at large seem to perceive quite how dangerous the situation now is. “How much worse does it have to get, before those who can bring this conflict to an end, especially President Kiir and Dr Machar, decide to do so?” Pillay asked.
The UN Human Rights Office reports on the state of prisons in Tunisia
The UN Human Rights Office publishes a report, citing overcrowding as the major problem in Tunisia’s prison system.
Migrant workers: living in the shadows
A special UN Human Rights Office event held in Geneva focused on workplace exploitation and protection for migrants.
Calling for urgent attention to prevent the ultimate crime
Sixty-five years after the adoption of the Genocide Convention, the first human rights treaty of the UN system, and the necessity of the Convention is still recognized.
Access to justice for children
“Access to justice is not only a fundamental right in itself, it is also a prerequisite for the protection and promotion of all other human rights,” said the UN Human Rights Deputy, Flavia Pansieri.
UN Human Rights Chief launches new management plan
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay presented the OHCHR Management Plan for 2014-2017 to Member States at the United Nations in Geneva.
Local and small-scale farming: a solution to hunger and malnutrition
Over the past fifty years, there has been significant progress in boosting agricultural production, however this has hardly reduced the number of people whose right to food remains unrealized and who suffer from hunger and malnutrition, states a recent report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter.
UN General Assembly backs plans to boost the global protection and promotion of human rights
The UN General Assembly boosts the protection of human rights globally, approving plans to improve the system which requires States to report on compliance with their human rights treaty obligations.
What the victims need: redress for sexual violence in the DR Congo
At the latest session of the Human Rights Council, panellists discussed lessons learnt and continuing challenges in addressing sexual and gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Religious leaders’ quest for peace in the Central African Republic
UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay met with two religious leaders from the Central African Republic to discuss the dire human rights situation in the country.
More than mothers
A special UN event in New York explored the impact of the narrow focus of the Millennium Development Goals on maternal health and the critical need for incorporating a human rights-based approach in the Post-2015 development framework.
UN Human Rights Chief offers her support for a new Convention on the rights of older persons
Opening the 2014 Social Forum in Geneva, UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay urges governments to consider a dedicated Convention to promote and protect the human rights of older persons.
The Rwanda genocide: 20 years later
“We must support Rwandan efforts to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights for all, and efforts to move towards reconciliation and rehabilitation,” says UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay in her message on the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda.
Minority rights key to an inclusive post-2015 development agenda
Ensuring the inclusion of minority issues in the post-2015 development agenda is key for addressing the social and economic marginalization faced globally by persons belonging to minorities.
Terrorised population in Syria deserves a political solution, states UN Commission
Syrians want a peaceful resolution to the conflict and accountability for the crimes committed in their country, the Commission of Inquiry on Syria tells the Human Rights Council.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: crimes against humanity revealed
During the UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva, Switzerland, the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea presented its report on an array of systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations, some amounting to crimes against humanity, being committed by the DPRK.
Tackling manifestations of collective hatred
Contempt, fear, mistrust and political tactics are the principal causes of collective religious hatred, the UN expert on freedom of religion and belief says.
Defenders urgently need a safe and enabling space
Defending human rights is a dangerous activity in some countries where defenders may be vilified, attacked, arrested, tortured, and even murdered. The UN Human Rights expert on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders condemns these acts and provides, in her final report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, recommendations on ways to create a safe and enabling space for defenders.
Strong leadership needed to combat racial discrimination
“True leaders employ the power of their standing in society to advocate a long-term vision of racial equality and social justice—they integrate, inspire, and mobilize others to bring a common aspiration to life,” said UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay.
Growing global trend calling for an end to capital punishment
Experts at the Human Rights Council discuss the progress and remaining challenges to abolish the death penalty worldwide.
Protecting civil society space to guarantee human rights
“International bodies and governments alone cannot achieve the fulfilment of the protection and promotion of human rights without the full participation of civil society,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Frank La Rue.
Integrating cultural rights in transitional justice strategies in post-conflict societies
The latest report to the Human Rights Council of the Rapporteur on cultural rights addresses memorialization processes in post-conflict societies and the importance of culture in transitional justice.
Fighting for equality for Romani women and girls in Moldova
Romani women and girls in Moldova often have lower levels of education, significantly higher rates of unemployment and poorer health than the rest of the population, according to a UN Human Rights Office report.
Equal access to land for women
“Despite the fact that many women are legally entitled to equality in access to land, they still experience considerable discrimination in this area,” said the UN Human Rights Office’s Gender and Women’s Rights Advisor in New York, Gaynel Curry.
Kyrgyzstan establishes a new system to prevent torture
Following alarming reports of torture in places of detention after the ethnic conflict in 2010, Kyrgyzstan is the first country in Central Asia to adopt a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) law, which establishes a National Centre as an independent body to monitor places of detention.
Everyone needs a place to call home
The UN human rights expert on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik, presents new Guiding Principles on tenure security for the urban poor in her last report to the Human Rights Council.
Every woman’s right to water, sanitation and hygiene
Human rights and health experts held an interactive dialogue on women’s advances in securing their rights and dignity in topics related to water, sanitation, and hygiene during a special event at the United Nations in Geneva.
Young migrants tell their stories
The UN World Youth Report on Youth and Migration provides a personal glimpse inside the lives of young migrants and the challenges they face at every phase of migration.
Too Young to Wed
The “Too Young to Wed” exhibition at the United Nations in Geneva highlights the issue of child marriage through more than 30 photographs of child brides from around the world by photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair.
Rights advisory committee starts study on the rights of persons with albinism
Persons with albinism face multiple forms of discrimination worldwide. The Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council starts a study on priority areas of protection of the rights of persons with albinism.
The Human Rights Council’s 25th session opens in Geneva
At the opening of the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay spoke of the daunting challenges, which lie ahead, for the full protection and promotion of human rights and highlighted the recent human rights achievements.
Learning to live in peace in Kyrgyzstan
Following an intense ethnic conflict in Kyrgyzstan in 2010, today students at Osh State University start thinking critically about ethnicity through a course initiated by the UN Human Rights Regional Office in Central Asia.
Hundreds of thousands besieged in Syria
Sieges imposed by parties to the Syrian conflict leave thousands of civilians trapped facing life threatening shortage without access to humanitarian assistance.
UN Commission report places spotlight on human rights in North Korea
The UN Commission of Inquiry on DPRK released an unprecedented report documenting wide ranging crimes against humanity, urging referral to ICC.
A right to education for all, including persons with disabilities
A new UN Human Rights study outlines how to address discrimination against persons with disabilities in the educational system
New global development goals must fight inequality and discrimination
“To eradicate poverty, we must address inequality,” said UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay during a side event of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Josephine Adaza: fighting for freedom of religion in Nigeria
Minority Fellow Josephine Adaza calls for religious freedom for the Christian minority in Northern Nigeria.
In memory of the victims of the Holocaust: A star shining in darkness
The UN Human Rights Office held an event marking the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
Afghanistan: a pivotal moment for human rights
Since 2001, there have been several human rights achievements in Afghanistan; however these gains remain fragile and many Afghans worry about how this year’s political, security and economic transition might impact the human rights of its citizens.
Savio Mahimaidass: calling to end caste-based discrimination worldwide
“Caste-based discrimination is not just an Indian issue. It’s a global issue,” says Savio Mahimaidass, the 2013 Fellow of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and member of the Dalit community.
Civilians deliberately targeted in large-scale killings in Central African Republic
Deliberate killings of Christian and Muslim civilians continue with impunity in Central African Republic.
Towards a new development agenda fully grounded in human rights
People from all over the world are demanding that human rights principles be a central part of the new development agenda: the challenge of how to effectively integrate human rights is a debate among the international community.
Tunisians seeking the right to the truth
The United Nations Human Rights Office in Tunisia is working with the interim Government and various stakeholders including victims and civil society organizations, towards the establishment of a comprehensive transitional justice process that would promote the truth about the past, and provide reparations and justice for all.
UN Human Rights Office advances human rights education in Mozambique
The UN Human Rights Office contributes a variety of human rights publications to the Eduardo Mondlane University’s new Human Rights Resource Centre in Maputo, Mozambique.
Sports stars come out against homophobia
Celebrity athletes join UN leaders and rights activists at a special event co-organized by the UN Human Rights Office on the role of sports in the fight against homophobia.