How we make a difference 2015

Proper sanitation becomes separate UN human right in enhanced fight against deadly infections
More than 2.5 billion still lack access to adequate sanitation, leaving them vulnerable to a variety of challenges. Sanitation is now being recognized as a distinct human right.
Sanitation acknowledged as human right
More than 2.5 billion still lack access to adequate sanitation, leaving them vulnerable to a variety of challenges. Sanitation is now being recognized as a distinct human right.
Punitive demolitions destroy more than homes in occupied Palestinian territory
The Al-Shaludi family home in East Jerusalem was demolished by the Israeli authorities after their son drove his car into a tram stop, killing two people.
ICERD: Fighting racism for 50 years and beyond
For 50 years, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms or Racism and Discrimination (ICERD) has been at the forefront of the fight against racism and discrimination in the world.
Migrants voices: We are not criminals
“I hope there is an amnesty for the illegal migrants, just because for me I am not a criminal...,” said Eladet Arcade a domestic migrant worker, who shared her experience at a recent panel discussion on migration and promoting tolerance.
Our rights, our freedoms, always: campaign to celebrate human rights begins
Recognizing the rights and freedoms inherent in everyone is the focus of a year-long campaign by the UN Human Rights Office, launched Wednesday with a photo exhibition, speeches and a monologue from Hollywood actor Daniel Brühl.
Ban vows to act quickly after report finds UN failed to respond ‘meaningfully’ to Central African Republic abuse allegations
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledged to urgently review the recommendations made by an independent panel investigating crimes committed against children by soldiers – not under UN command – in the Central African Republic.
‘Robust, decisive’ action needed now to avert civil war in Burundi, UN rights chief warns
Speaking at the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the international community to take “robust, decisive” action instead of “fiddling around the edges” to avert a civil war in Burundi.
Burundi: UN human rights chief urges immediate action to stop 'senseless' violence
Amid the “deadly escalation” of violence in Burundi, the High Commissioner sounded alarm at the unfolding crisis and urged all actors to take every step possible to stop the growing violence and engage in a meaningful and inclusive dialogue.
UN human rights chief calls for DPR Korea to be referred to International Criminal Court
The High Commissioner called on the Security Council to refer the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the International Criminal Court, citing continuing gross rights violations, “the institutional nature and severity of which pose a threat to international peace and security.”
“Our rights, our freedoms, always”: Human Rights Day 2015
Recognizing and claiming our rights and freedoms is the focus on a year-long campaign from the Human Rights Office, which begins on Human Rights Day 2015.
Witchcraft in a modern age: broken communities and recalcitrant stigma
Desperate times can revive olden beliefs that make members of the same community turn against one another.
Despite less fighting, eastern Ukraine still ‘highly flammable,’ UN reports, as death toll tops 9,000
Despite a significant reduction in hostilities in eastern Ukraine in the last few months, serious human rights concerns persist, including killings, torture and impunity, the United Nations reported.
Fundamental freedoms ‘inalienable and inherent – now and always,’ UN says on Human Rights Day
Marking this year’s Human Rights Day, the UN is calling on the world to recognize and guarantee fundamental freedoms: freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom of speech and freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
Towards 30 years of the right to development
The 1986 UN Declaration on the Right to Development “emphasizes the dignity of the human person,” said Craig Mokhiber, head of the Development and Economic and Social Issues Branch of the UN Human Rights Office.
Ending child marriage: affected girls speak for themselves
“Child marriage started before me and will end with me,” said one of the participants during a safe space discussion for former child brides held at the First African Girls Summit to End Child Marriage, in Lusaka, Zambia.
Geneva focus of forum on preventing violence against women
It is often forgotten that no place is immune to the issue of violence against women. The UN Human Rights Office took a look at the work being done locally in Geneva to assist victims of such violence.
Burning Down the House
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights likens man-made climate change to being an arsonist burning down one’s own home. In this opinion piece, he urges solutions rooted in climate justice.
A fine balance: ensuring rights online and State security demands
In an era of growing access to information technology by everyone from ordinary people to terror groups, Governments and companies must balance security and surveillance with respect for individuals’ online privacy.
Join us to mark Human Rights Day on 10 December
Events to mark Human Rights Day in New York include: a symbolic ceremony at the Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, a panel discussion on the Secretary-General's Human Rights up Front initiative, and a discussion on the economic cost of LGBT exclusion.
New look to UN Human Rights homepage means easier access to human rights information
UN Human Rights Office launches a new design for the homepage, which will provide greater accessibility and easier navigation for users.
Top UN human rights official calls for more safety after political opponent killing in Venezuela
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called on Venezuelan authorities to ensure that political opponents, human rights defenders and others facing threats in relation to their work are adequately protected.
Human rights must be part of any climate change agreement in Paris
Any climate change commitments being made by States must include a human rights element, said Craig Mokhiber from the UN Human Rights Office, speaking ahead of the COP21 climate talks in Paris this week.
Mega-sporting events must not undermine human rights
The need to avoid adverse human rights impacts of mega sporting was the focus of a panel discussion during the fourth UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva.
UN rights office alarmed by Nepal’s violation on use of force towards protestors
Alarmed by latest killings in violent clashes in Nepal, the OHCHR urged Nepalese authorities to follow international standards on use of force, respect dissenting voices and engage them in a “meaningful, inclusive and open dialogue.”
Legal clinics bring justice and rehabilitation to victims of sexual violence in DR Congo
The UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DR Congo supports victims of sexual violence through grassroots organizations that provide direct legal assistance, free of charge, for survivors and their families.
Making human rights fashionable
How do you make human rights fashionable? For one South African fashion designer, you do it by having a real stake in the production chain process, from the designers all the way to the weavers of the cloth.
Making progress on business and human rights
Preventing and addressing business-related human abuse is the focus of the UN Business and Human Rights Forum, a three-day conference that brings together over 2,000 representatives from all sides of the issue.
Racial superiority’ myth must be debunked, experts tell UN event on challenges faced by people of African descent
Debunking the myth of racial hierarchy, UN experts on racial discrimination today said that it is imperative to deconstruct, on a global scale, the ideological myth of a superior race and the resulting conviction of a superior culture.
No room for death penalty in 21st century, says UN official, citing decline in support for capital punishment
Ahead of the launch of a new book on the global trend away from the death penalty, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights said that there has been a decline in the number of countries upholding capital punishment in the last 40 years.
Boko Haram’s path of destruction
The UN Human Rights Office recently launched a report on the atrocities committed by Boko Haram. Some of these malicious acts, if confirmed by a court of law, could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The UN at 70: in celebration of peace, human rights and development
The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) opened Ariana Park and some areas of the Palais des Nations to the public to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.
UN human rights chief urges recognition of 'dignity and worth of every human being'
The turmoil and crises the international community faces clearly demonstrate the disasters that may occur when human rights are “neglected and ground down,” the High Commissioner said in a wide-ranging address to UN Member States in New York.
Better data, better lives
A meeting organized by the UN Human Rights Office focuses on a human rights-based approach to data collection ahead of World Statistics Day.
UN chief concerned by rising number of executions in Iran
Expressing his “deep sadness” at the recent execution by Iran of two juvenile offenders, UN Secretary-General noted with concern the alarming increase in executions in the country over the last decade.
Mexico’s relentless wave of human rights violations
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein visited Mexico to assess the human rights situation in the country.
A name, a nationality, an identity: Registering Indigenous Peoples in Panama
Hundreds of members of the Mama Tata religious group of the Ngäbe-Bugle indigenous people in Panama have been recently officially registered by members of the country’s Electoral Tribunal. The registration was assisted by the UN Human Rights Office for Central America as part of a project to improve birth registration among indigenous populations funded by the Universal Periodic Review Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance.
On World Day against Death Penalty, UN says practice deters neither drug crimes nor abuse
The death penalty does not deter drug crimes, nor does it protect people from drug abuse, said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for the World Day Against the Death Penalty, 10 October.
UN chief on LGBT rights: “Leave no one behind”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls on Governments to use the newly-adopted Sustainable Development Goals to end the marginalization and exclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Honouring human rights defenders
Human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor from the United Arab Emirates is this year’s recipient of the Martin Ennals Human Rights Defender Award. The Geneva-based award is presented every year to an individual who has an outstanding record of fighting against human rights violations.
UN launches ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’ on improving treatment of prisoners
The UN launched the Revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, dubbed the ‘Nelson Mandela Rules,’ which Secretary-General as “a great step forward” but also drew attention to three areas that could be strengthened from a human rights perspective.
Monitoring elections in Guatemala: one UN protecting human rights defenders
In the middle of a political crisis in Guatemala, OHCHR deployed monitoring teams to observe the first round of the general elections and to protect human rights defenders from potential human rights violations.
EU migration policy ‘will fail’ without comprehensive, human rights focus – UN rights chief
Warning that Europe’s “narrow, exclusion-focused [migration] policies have clearly failed,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the European Union to make certain that upcoming policy discussions are grounded firmly on the need to protect the human rights for all migrants.
Afghanistan: UN strongly condemns 'tragic, inexcusable' Kunduz hospital airstrike
Senior United Nations officials today condemned what they called a “tragic” and “inexcusable” air strike on the Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, a city in northern Afghanistan, which resulted in the deaths and injuries of medical personnel, patients and other civilians.
Death penalty victims’ families deserve respect, panellists say
As more nations move toward abolishing the death penalty, more needs to be done to ensure the rights and needs of victims and their families are met, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Mr. Ban’s statement was part of the event Moving Away from the Death Penalty: Voices of Victims’ Families, an event which took place during the UN General Assembly in New York.
At event on moving away from the death penalty, Ban stresses need to respect rights of victims’ families
As more nations move toward abolishing the death penalty, more needs to be done to ensure the rights and needs of victims and their families are met, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Mr. Ban’s statement was part of the event Moving Away from the Death Penalty: Voices of Victims’ Families, an event which took place during the UN General Assembly in New York.
A step forward for intersex visibility and human rights
The UN Human Rights Office organized the first meeting of its kind for the United Nations to address the specific human rights situation of intersex persons in Geneva, Switzerland.
During UN’s busiest week, human rights is focus of many debates
As the annual gathering of world leaders representing the 193 member states of the United Nations gets under way at UN headquarters in New York, here are the three main human rights related events to follow - on the death penalty, LGBT, and Sustainable Development Goals . All three events take place on Tuesday, 29 September.
Crying Out for Justice: the Continued Plight of Syrian Civilians
The latest UN Commission of Inquiry report on the Syrian Arab Republic calls for urgent action to ensure the effective protection of civilians caught up in protracted fighting. The report, the tenth from the Commission, was presented during an interactive dialogue at the 30th session of the Human Rights Council.
Who has the right to land in Burundi?
Is it possible to solve the issue of land by making another person landless? This is the dilemma the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi has documented and helped the Government deal with as those who fled the country’s many conflicts between 1962 and 1993 return seeking the land they lost.
High Commissioner urges creation of hybrid court for Sri Lanka
A UN Report published on events that took place in Sri Lanka between 2002 and 2011 has revealed systematic patterns of “horrific levels of violation and abuses,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
UN urges creation of special court in Sri Lanka after new report confirms ‘horrific’ abuses
A new report released today by OHCHR has identified patterns of grave violations in Sri Lanka between 2002 and 2011, and recommends the establishment of a hybrid special court to ensure that justice is served.
People on the move have human rights which require protection
Current trends in the violations of migrant workers’ rights and State responses to these developments were the subjects of discussions to commemorate 25th anniversary of the migrant workers’ rights convention.
Criticism is no threat to sovereignty
“Sovereignty cannot be damaged by carefully evaluated commentary,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in his opening address to the 30th Session of the Human Rights Council, taking place in Geneva this month.
Togo: The road towards human rights
In 2005 the death of hundreds people during the post-election related violence in Togo prompted a UN investigation. A decade later we look at the success of the UN Human Rights Office in the country.
Central African Republic: the fight against impunity
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is in the Central African Republic on an official visit to reiterate support and make a plea for support for human rights. During the four-day visit Zeid will meet with various representatives of the country’s transitional government, NGOs and internally displaced people as well as take part in a seminar on preventing impunity.
New Independent Expert on Albinism Takes Up Post
Ikponwosa Ero has been appointed as the United Nations first-ever Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by People with Albinism. Ero, from Nigeria, was appointed by the Human Rights Council during its 29th Session.
A tribute to those who lost their lives in the service of human rights
On World Humanitarian Day, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri honours colleagues in her Office and the UN who have lost their lives in the course of their humanitarian work.
Promoting LGBTI equality in the Pacific
The UN Human Rights Office for the Pacific, along with other UN agencies, civil society organizations and diplomatic missions, launched the Free & Equal campaign to recognize sexual and gender diversity in the region and promote respect for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and intersex Pacific Islanders.
Empowering indigenous peoples in Nepal
UN Human Rights Office Senior Indigenous Fellow Subha Ghale from Nepal is working on empowering women from indigenous communities in her home country.
Workshop provides critical space for activists working on sexual and reproductive health rights
Improving the promotion of sexual and reproductive health rights was the focus of a recent workshop organized by the UN Human Rights Regional Office for West Africa. The workshop trained NGOs from across West Africa on how to use human rights mechanisms to increase respect for sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Living in a state of fear
ISIL has engaged in widespread and systematic human rights violations of the most serious kinds in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq, according to a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on countering terrorism. Civilians living under ISIL have furthermore suffered from the airstrikes conducted by the international coalition of States.
Violent attacks reported against civilians fleeing ISIL-controlled areas of Iraq – UN human rights office
An increasing number of people in Iraq have encountered deadly ambushes as they try to escape areas controlled the Islamic State, according to OHCHR.
Protection of cultural heritage must include views of indigenous peoples
The voices of indigenous peoples need to be heard during all aspects of current and future negotiations on sustainable development and human rights, said UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussien. Zeid made his comments during the Eighth session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which took place in Geneva.
UN human rights officials seriously concerned by verdicts in trial of former members of Qadhafi regime
The verdicts in the trial of 37 Qadhafi regime officials, including against Saif al-Islam Qadhafi, have drawn serous concern from UN human rights officials amid fears the trial did not meet international standards.
UN rights office renews concern after Cambodian Senate adopts law with ‘chilling effect’ on civil society
A draft law adopted today by Cambodia’s legislative wing “threatens the very existence of a free and independent civil society”, the UN human rights office has warned.
2018 FIFA World Cup – an opportunity for respect for diversity
FIFA prioritizes its “zero tolerance” policy on discrimination in a World Cup Sustainability Strategy that should bring a positive economic, environmental and social impact around the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the Russian Federation.
War crimes trial for former Chadian leader ‘a milestone for justice in Africa’ – UN rights chief
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights welcomed the opening of the trial of Hissène Habré, the former President of Chad – who is accused of crimes against humanity.
Greater ambition needed to improve financing for development
Financing for development is not dependent on money as much as it is on will, ambition and compassion. In a statement read on his behalf on the last day of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called on States, civil society, private business interests and others to seize the opportunity to provide freedom from fear and want to people across the world.
More satellite images to assist human rights work
Satellite imagery plays a vital role in helping to substantiate and help corroborate other sources of information, including witness testimonies, of human rights violations. A recent agreement between the UN Human Rights Office and UNITAR’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) hopes to expand the use of this technology for human rights work.
All rise! The Moot Court is in session
The third edition of the Summer School on Human Rights ends in Kazan, Republic of Tartastan, with a Moot Court Competition based on the European Court of Human Rights.
Zeid to Human Rights Council: “Boko Haram retains capacity to cause significant harm”
UN Human Rights Chief Zeid warns that failure to uphold international humanitarian and human rights principles in the fight against Boko Haram may jeopardize the population’s trust in national authorities.
Eritrea UN Commission of Inquiry: “time for true commitment and real change”
Gross human rights violations, repression and a life lived in fear is forcing thousands of Eritreans to flee their country of origin, finds UN Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea.
UN Human Rights Office researches abuses of Boko Haram
The atrocities and human rights abuses committed by Boko Haram are the focus of a special investigation by the UN Human Rights Office. The investigation, authorized by the Human Rights Council earlier this year, will interview provide background information for an oral report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Human rights, encryption and anonymity in a digital age
Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, says States must respect privacy in digital communications to safeguard individuals’ freedoms of speech and opinion.
UN rights chief urges concerted action to tackle Boko Haram's 'extensive and far-reaching' abuses
Describing a pattern of vicious and indiscriminate attacks by Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria, the UN human rights chief today urged the international community to help the sub-region begin to repair the damage.
Recalling 'responsibility to protect' UN pays tribute to victims of Srebrenica genocide
During a high-level commemorative event in New York, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today paid tribute to the victims of the Srebrenica genocide, perpetrated 20 years ago.
Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed today the United States Supreme Court ruling that the US Constitution guarantees the right to same-sex marriage.
UN Human Rights Chief opens new office in Seoul
The UN Human Rights Office has opened its newest office this week in Seoul. The Seoul office works on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Supporting victims of torture and rebuilding lives
On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commits to leading the United Nations in denouncing torture and defending human rights around the world.
UN Women’s Committee makes inquiry into sexual and reproductive health rights in the Philippines
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women issues its findings on a sexual and reproductive health rights violations inquiry in the Philippines.
Girls’ education key to eliminating discrimination
To achieve the fundamental principle of equality between men and women, we need to dismantle outmoded and harmful stereotypes that prevent women and girls from reaching their full potential, said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Zeid made his comment during a panel discussion on girls’ education, which took place during the 29th session of the Human Rights Council.
Migrants need protection, not push-backs
The plight of thousands of migrants attempting to make their way to safety and dignity needs global attention and effort, said UN High Commission for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Zeid made his remarks during an interactive dialogue on the human rights of migrants which took place during the 29th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Message is clear: Human Rights Still Matter
“Let the message go out that we will defend the victim and the voiceless,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. The message was given during his opening statement of the 29th Session of the Human Rights Council, taking place in Geneva this week.
Welcoming progress on human rights, the High Commissioner urges action to bolster protections and end abuses
“Too many of us live among brutal conflicts, and are threatened by greed, ambition and contempt for human life,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stressed in his opening remarks to the 29th session of the Human Rights Council.
Discrimination has no place in football
Sport is one of the few activities that can bring people together across all boundaries, said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein. But unfortunately, discrimination is also common in this pursuit. Zeid made his remarks as part of a stakeholder meeting on anti-discrimination and racism in football held in Moscow.
On first-ever International Day, UN celebrates people with albinism and urges awareness of challenges they face
The first-ever day for International Albinism Awareness is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of people with albinism and join the struggle against the difficulties they face.
UN deputy chief urges action to reduce exclusion and discrimination of persons with disabilities
Empowering persons with disabilities and securing their rights will advance society as a whole, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said at the 8th Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Increased militia violence could push Burundi ‘over the edge,’ warns UN rights chief
Deeply worried at the increasingly violent and threatening actions by a pro-government militia in Burundi, the UN human rights chief urged the national authorities to take immediate and concrete measures to rein them in.
In Tajikistan, Ban highlights importance of safe water, sanitation and human rights
“Access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene represent some of the highest development priorities of countries worldwide. These are also important human rights issues,” Ban Ki-moon said in Dushanbe.
A Guatemalan awakening: the revolt for justice and change
Since April 25 2015, more than 50,000 Guatemalans, have gathered in an unprecedented, pacific mass protest to denounce rampant corruption and demand justice.
New UN report presents recommendations on protecting LGBT rights
While some progress has been made since the first report, the overall picture remains one of pervasive, violent abuse, harassment and discrimination affecting LGBT/I persons in all regions, according to a new UN report.
Persistent and grave human rights violations in spite of relative calm in eastern Ukraine – UN report
Serious human rights violations and abuses persist in eastern Ukraine deeply affecting the 5 million people living in the conflict-affected areas, a new UN report said today.
UN rights chief urges inquiry into violations by international forces in Central African Republic
The UN rights chief has urged several States to intensify their efforts to investigate allegations that soldiers in their forces sent to the Central African Republic may have committed very serious violations.
UN calls on Southeast Asian countries to better protect migrants making ‘perilous journeys’ by sea
In a joint statement, senior United Nations officials have urged the leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, to protect migrants and refugees stranded on vessels in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
New video presents the faces of LGBT “everyday heroes” to the world
“FACES”, a video produced by the UN Human Rights Office as part of its Free & Equal campaign celebrates the contributions that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people make to families and local communities around the world.
Rebel group responsible for ‘grave violations’ in DR Congo massacres, says UN report
A UN report published Wednesday reveals that grave violations of international humanitarian law were committed by the Uganda-based Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in crisis-riven north-eastern DR Congo.
Human rights must be at the center of small arms debate, Zeid tells Council
Many people are willing to indulge in “the commerce of death,” and those responsible for facilitating serious violations of human rights are rarely held accountable, High Commissioner Zeid told the Security Council at its debate on small arms.
Films help educate students about human rights
For ten years the UN Human Rights Office has supported the use of films as a way to educate about human rights. In partnership with the Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights, the Office co-organizes special screenings of films aimed at Geneva schoolchildren.
‘Not ghosts but human beings:’ UN rights office launches website on Albinism
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) launched a website dedicated to the issue of albinism aimed at debunking the myths of the rare condition.
Yemen conflict death toll nears 650, with UN rights office spotlighting plight of 3 million disabled
The conflict in Yemen has now taken at least 646 civilian lives and injured more than 1,300 others, according to UN human rights monitors who also drew attention to the desperate plight of persons with disabilities.
Ban condemns Texas shooting, says ‘ideas must be defended through democratic debate and dialogue’
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned shooting in Texas that injured a law enforcement officer, reiterating that such criminal acts have nothing to do with religion or belief.
Fight against torture: “Are we doing enough?”
Ending torture means ending impunity for those who commit it, as well as providing rehabilitation and reparation to victims, practitioners told a large audience of representatives from Member States and the public during a public meeting convened by the UN Fund for Victims of Torture.
People with disabilities have right to inclusive and quality education
An event organised by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities discusses how to make inclusive education a reality.
UN rights official cites Afghanistan’s ‘paradox’ of new opportunities for peace amid growing violence
Recent violence underlined the fact that it would be Afghan civilians who pay the price and more work needs to be done to protect them, says Ivan Šimonović, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, at the end of a seven-day mission to Afghanistan.
‘Callous’ EU politics on migrants costing lives, UN rights chief warns
Following the loss of some 700 lives after a boat carrying migrants sank over the weekend, the UN human rights chief has urged European Union governments to take a “more sophisticated, more courageous and less callous approach” to coping with the flows of migrants towards Europe.
Doha: At Crime Congress, UN experts cite ‘shift’ as more States move away from death penalty
“The world is certainly moving away from the death penalty, in just the way the world moved away from slavery, from judicial torture and from other such practices”, UN Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns said at the Doha Crime Congress special event on the death penalty, recalling that in 1948, only eight States had taken the death penalty out of their laws and now 99 have done so.
Rebuilding lives torn apart by torture
Fund recipients will join board members during a meeting of the UN Voluntary Fund for the Victims of Torture. The meeting, which takes place in Geneva in April, gives a chance for Fund recipients to exchange best practices and meeting with the Fund’s Trustees.
Children living on the street to receive special focus
The Committee on the Rights of the Child is developing a General Comment on Children in Street Situations. The Comment, which is a comprehensive review of how the Convention on the Rights of the Child can be applied to children living on the street, was prompted by a recommendation of a report by the UN Human Rights Office and the Consortium for Street Children.
Human Rights Council calls for the investigation of the atrocities committed by Boko Haram
The UN Human Rights Council calls for the investigation on the atrocities committed by the Boko Haram insurgent group and its effects on human rights in Nigeria and countries of the Lake Chad Basin.
Learning from historical tragedies to end racism
The Human Rights Council says that commemorating past human rights tragedies through the use of archives, historical research and other educational activities, will help combat the old ideologies that continue to feed racism today.
Thanks A Million
The UN Human Rights Office Facebook page has passed the one million “likes” mark. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called the milestone symbolic of the public’s trust in the work of the Office.
Copyright should not infringe on cultural rights
Copyrights are not normally associated with human rights, but these laws can have a profound effect on the lives of communities if not properly managed, says UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights Farida Shaheed.
Libyan human rights defenders face increasing dangers
Libyan human rights defenders are increasingly subject to threats and physical attacks from rival armed groups, according to a recently released UN Human Rights Office report.
Climate change is a human rights issue
A human rights-based approach to climate change would render climate policy more effective because it would identify and satisfy the most pressing needs of vulnerable people, said Flavia Pansieri, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.
White Ebony
The exhibition “Blanc Ebène – White Ebony” at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, raises awareness of the human rights of persons living with albinism through 30 images by photographer Patricia Willocq.
Expert says key housing rights responsibility lie with local authorities
The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, is concerned about the billions of people worldwide living in inadequate housing. In her report at the 28th session of the Human Rights Council she called on States to guarantee access to justice and effective remedies for violations of this right.
For a better inclusion of women’s rights in detention in Senegal
A new report by the Regional Office for West Africa of the UN Human Rights Office highlights how women in Senegal are particularly affected by detention.
Experts in Argentina 35 years after
To mark the 35th anniversary of its creation, the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances hosted its session in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Group was created to investigate disappearances specifically in the wake of massive human rights violations in Argentina. The meeting marked the Working Group’s 105th session.
Surge in ‘stunningly vicious' attacks on albino children in East Africa, UN rights chief warns
The United Nations human rights chief expressed revulsion at a recent spike in gruesome attacks against people with albinism in several East African countries.
Honouring Women Human Rights Defenders
Being a human rights defender can mean extraordinary acts and risks, which can multiply if that defender is a woman. A campaign by the UN Human Rights Office has highlighted the work done by these defenders and encouraged solidarity with them.
A matter of life and death: improving access to medicines worldwide
Two billion people across the globe currently don’t have access to essential medicines. International health care campaigners and other experts met in Geneva to discuss ways of making life-saving drugs available to more people at an affordable price.
Member States must enforce human rights amid rising tide of extremism – UN rights chief
Speaking to the 47-member UN Human Rights Council, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein warned of the “real danger” that opinion-leaders and decision-makers would “lose their grasp” of the values that States built 70 years ago “to ward off the horror of war.”
‘No evidence death penalty deters any crime,’ senior UN official tells Rights Council
Despite progress in recent years to universally abolish the death penalty, major challenges persist, Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said today in his opening remarks to the UN Human Rights Council on the third day and final day of meetings.
Protecting and promoting minority rights in Kyrgyzstan
Utkir Dzhabbarov believes that learning how to better use the UN human rights instruments and mechanisms is key to help improve the lives of ethnic minority communities in Kyrgyzstan. Dzhabbarov, who belongs to the Uzbek minority community in Kyrgyzstan, was a participant in the UN Human Rights Office Minority Fellowship Programme.
Political consensus urgent to protect human rights, Ban tells opening session of UN council
The UN has the mandates and tools it needs to prevent human rights violations”, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the opening of the 28th session of the Human Rights Council. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the world must be “completely principled and cunning in its collective attempt to defang” violent extremists.
States must renew dedication to inalienable human rights
The near daily news of atrocities and needless human suffering at the hands of terrorists and others demands a stronger and more inspired leadership from Member States toward upholding human rights, said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Zeid made his comments at the opening of the 28th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Rights of people with disabilities cannot be ignored in development agenda, UN experts
“No one should be left behind if we want to ensure a fully inclusive society for all,” the group of three UN human rights experts said in a statement, urging international negotiators and all UN Member States to firmly include the human rights of persons with disabilities in the new development framework.
UN rights experts describe ‘unconscionable’ suffering of Syrians in four-year conflict
Four UN human rights experts briefed the Security Council today on a new report into human rights and humanitarian law violations in Syria, saying unthinkable crimes continue occurring daily, with victims' voices in danger of being lost amid the horrors of the conflict.
Climate change impacts enjoyment of human rights
Recognizing the intrinsic link between human rights and climate change, experts on both issues took part in the “Climate Justice Dialogue.” The Dialogue, which took place in Geneva in early February, aimed to strengthen the links between human rights and climate change action ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference, which will take place in Paris later this year. The Dialogue was sponsored by the UN Human Rights Office and the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice.
Rise in unregistered marriages in Kyrgyzstan called “worrying”
Unregistered marriages are on the rise in Kyrgyzstan. The marriages, usually performed by a local religious leader, can put the women who participate in them at risk by undermining their rights and economic position, according to the UN Human Rights Regional Office for Central Asia. The office is working with local NGOs, and government officials to raise awareness of and to help curb the practice.
Attacks against girls’ education on the increase
A new report by the UN Human Rights Office looks at the increase in attacks against girls accessing education. The study, by the Women’s Human Rights and Gender section, found an increase in the number of attacks specifically aimed at girls trying to go to school. It makes recommendations for prevention and reparations.
“We need people with PH D level compassion”
“We need people who are kind. People with PhD level compassion,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Zeid made his remarks during a speech at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. as part of an event looking into the causes of atrocities.
Fashion used to show human rights
“We invite you to wear your human rights 365 days every year,” said Liliana Valina, Human Rights Adviser with the UN Human Rights Office. She is referring to wearing clothing designed as part of the Derechos Humanos, Son Para Protegerte (Human rights, they are protecting you) campaign, which used fashion to help raise awareness of human rights issues.
Helping to inform and improve the lives of Afro-Nicaraguans
Shaun Carol Campbell Bush believes that Nicaraguans of African descent need to be more proactive to have their rights recognized. As a participant in the UN Human Rights Office Minority Fellowship programme, she believes she will learn how to use human rights mechanisms to assist her community to do this.
Fellow raises awareness of Yezidi Iraqi plight
Yezidi activist Nareen Shammo tells the story of the plight of her people in war-ravaged parts of Iraq at the UN Human Rights Office.
Traditional slavery: Said and Yarg’s story
Brothers Said and Yarg both inherited the status of ‘slave’. They had no choice but to obey their master’s orders and were not allowed to go to school. They were also frequently subject to beatings. They were eventually able to escape and with the assistance of two anti-slavery organisations, they have been able to pursue legal action against their former master and begin their schooling.
Taking a human rights approach to psychosocial disability
Getting the issues concerning persons with psychosocial disabilities or mental health problems dealt with from a human rights perspective has been the focus of work by the UN Human Rights Regional Office for Europe. A recent event of the “Forgotten Europeans” series looked at human rights challenges faced by these groups.
Rebuilding Lives After Torture – Ahmed’s Story
Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Amin, executive director of WCHAN – Trauma Rehabilitation and Training Center of Iraq, counsels torture victims from across the country and from neighbouring Syria.
Religious and belief tolerance necessary for workplace
Religious practice in the workplace needs to be accommodated to ensure all employees are free to exercise this human right, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief says. To do this, Heiner Bielefeldt calls on employers and employees should establish an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.