How we make a difference 2017

Human rights education key to overcoming conflict and inequality
As the world experiences more conflicts and inequalities based on ethnic, religious and socio-economic identities and differences, now more than ever, there is a need for approaches that promote understanding, respect, participation and inclusion. And a key element in this strategy is human rights education.
Human Rights Commission for South Sudan calls for end of impunity for perpetrators of violence
On the fourth anniversary of the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan, the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan calls for an end to impunity for perpetrators of violence.
Human Rights Day celebrated across the globe
Around the world, States, civil society, NGOs, celebrities, communities and individuals celebrated Human Rights Day with art, song, and performances. Here is a snap shot of a few.
Israeli forces’ shooting of double amputee ‘shocking’ – Zeid
The killing of a Palestinian wheelchair user by Israeli forces during protests in Gaza against the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is “ a truly shocking and wanton act,” says Zeid.
Values we all share in migrant voices that long to be heard
The UN Human Rights Office launches an animated video series that gives a voice to people on the move and aims to change an often harmful public narrative on migration.
Education in mother tongue a key element in success of minority youth
“Language is the key to inclusion. Recognizing the kind of importance that people place on their own language fosters the kind of participation in development that achieves long lasting results,” Elzbieta Kuzborska from the Association of Polish Academics in Lithuania told the Minority Forum which took place recently in Geneva.
Somalia conflict exacting terrible toll on civilians
Respect for human rights and protection of civilians are essential to build a strong, legitimate State that works for all, Zeid says as UN report details the terrible toll on civilians of Somalia’s conflict.
Global standards for business tackle LGBTI discrimination
United Nations Human Rights Office, along with business leaders and activists have launched global standards for business to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people.
Commemorating the Universal Declaration at its place of adoption: Paris
"It is up to us", the High Commissioner said. "We need to fight back against discrimination, and uphold justice. The time is now, and the leader you are looking for is you."
Values enshrined in Universal Declaration of Human Rights under assault, must be defended – Zeid
In his Human Rights Day statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein issued a call to all to defend human rights and uphold justice. "We must organize, mobilise in defence of human decency, in defence of a better common future. We must take a robust and determined stand."
A world for all
The wider inclusion of persons with disabilities and the meaningful commitment of the international community to uphold their rights is the only way forward to equality, panellists say at the celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Zeid urges Mexico not to pass internal security law
Zeid calls for open and inclusive discussions on Mexico's security challenges, as he expresses deep concerns about a proposed law enshrining the armed forces' role in law enforcement.
Soumayya’s story: A bold fight against female genital mutilation
“This is a practice that is injuring the bodies of women, the bodies of girls,” said Soumayya, who took a courageous stand against female mutilation and was imprisoned and tortured for her resistance to the widespread practice. Her fight continues to this day. Here is her story.
New website celebrates 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Visit and learn more about the Declaration and the many ways for you to join our campaign.
People of African descent face "deeply damaging" discrimination
In Europe, North America and Central Asia, people of African descent endure pervasive injustice, the High Commissioner tells regional consultative meeting.
Protecting the reproductive rights of adolescent girls
Restrictions on adolescent girls’ reproductive choices are an especially hurtful form of gender-based discrimination and violence, women’s rights experts told Member States at a high-level panel discussion of the Human Rights Council.
Zeid hails conviction of Mladic, the epitome of evil
Ratko Mladic presided over some of the darkest crimes to occur in Europe since World War II, Zeid says, hailing the conviction of the former Bosnian Serb army commander at the International Criminal tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
Act over plight of displaced people in Darfur, Sudan urged
Sudan is urged to pursue effective, transparent and durable policies to enable the 2.6 million people displaced by the conflict in Darfur to return home or reintegrate into host communities.
Guatemala: Zeid urges renewed efforts to end discrimination
Zeid highlights the stark inequalities and discrimination in Guatemalan society and voices support for those working to transform their society during his visit to the country.
Zeid becomes first UN Human Rights chief to visit El Salvador
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights met President Salvador Sánchez Cerén, members of the Legislative Assembly, members of civil society and indigenous peoples during a first visit El Salvador.
Zeid: Suffering of migrants in Libya outrage to conscience of humanity
The UN Human Rights chief expresses dismay at the sharp increase in the number of migrants held in horrific conditions at detention facilities in Libya.
Rights situation in Venezuela remains critical
The human rights situation in Venezuela deserves the attention of the UN Security Council, High Commissioner Zeid says, given the continuing violations and the potentially destabilizing influence it could have in the country and in the region.
Playing their way to a better community
Youth human rights clubs in Kosovo* bring communities together, through their love of sport.
Mali: Human rights must be at heart of fight against terrorism
Mali must make respect for human rights and justice the cornerstone of the fight against terrorism, says UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour at end of a four-day visit to the country.
Sterilization a form of “systemic violence” against girls with disabilities
Forced sterilization is a form of torture and a symptom of the systemic violence that girls and young women with disabilities endure worldwide, says UN expert on the disability rights, Catalina Devandas.
UN report on Mosul: ISIL members should face “international crimes” charges
A UN report concludes that ISIL perpetrated serious and systematic violations that amount to “international crimes” during the nine-month military campaign to liberate Mosul City in Iraq.
Protecting the human rights of migrants at Europe's borders
States' responses to newcomers at their borders and in transit must uphold international human rights standards to protect the rights of all migrants across Europe.
Report on the human rights of migrants at Europe's borders
In a new report, the UN Human Rights Office calls on European States to prioritize the human rights of migrants in response to the arrival of newcomers in border areas and in transit across Europe.
Plight of civilians in Eastern Ghouta "an outrage" – Zeid
The plight of people besieged in Eastern Ghouta is an outrage, Zeid says, as he reminds all parties to the conflict that they must allow the free and regular passage of food and other humanitarian relief into the area.
Uruguay rights: Zeid highlights progress and challenges
Zeid recognises Uruguay’s rights record but highlights ongoing issues to be addressed, including violence against women, “inhumane” prison conditions and impunity for violations during military rule.
Protecting human rights defenders in the Americas
The UN Human Rights Office and Inter-American Commission launch a new joint action plan to address one of the most pressing problems in the Americas: the protection of human rights defenders.
Death penalty and transparency – what's to hide?
“The death penalty has no place in the 21st century,” says UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, at a UN Human Rights Office event on the lack of transparency in in how the death penalty is carried-out in countries that execute.
Activists use human rights to advance sexual and reproductive health
“Human rights mechanisms are a way to hold governments accountable, especially at a time when there is shrinking space,” said Catherine Nyambura, of the pan-African women’s rights organization FemNet. She made her comment after a recent training session on sexual and reproductive health and rights, organized by the UN Human Rights Regional Office in East Africa.
Put human rights at heart of development, Zeid urges Peru
Zeid urges Peru to continue its efforts to tackle poverty and inequality by strengthening the rule of law and the protection of human rights, so that economic development leaves no one behind.
Experts: Stereotypes and fear continue to block access to health care for some
For many, access to health care is a problem compounded by many factors including stigma, lack of adequate or any health care facilities or even expense of treatment. But during the Social Forum, participants talked about ways human rights can combat discrimination and improve access to health care for all.
Losing your land to climate change
Climate change threatens the very existence of Kiribati and other small island states in the Pacific. “If we have to migrate because of climate change, we will have no land to return to. We don’t want to lose our fundamental rights – if our country goes under water because of climate change,” says Kiribati youth activist Rae Bainteiti.
"It is up to us": why – and how – we must stand up for human rights
In a speech in New York, the High Commissioner called for more far-reaching advocacy for human rights law and values – for reason, principle and peace.
"The shrinking of civil society space is not an accident of fate”: pushing back against attacks on human rights around the world
Assistant Secretary General Andrew Gilmour’s speech to Front Line Defenders in Dublin.
Upholding equality and dignity: the work of human rights officers in the field
At the Third Committee of the General Assembly, the High Commissioner emphasised the scope and depth of work underway in countries.
Youth involvement key to indigenous peoples human rights
Youth involvement and increased State action are key to the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, indigenous rights experts told the UN Human Rights Council during a recent panel discussion.
New UN report details brutal attacks on Rohingya in northern Rakhine State
Brutal attacks against Rohingya in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State have been well-organised, coordinated and systematic, a new UN report based on interviews conducted in Bangladesh has found.
Torture during interrogations – Illegal, immoral and ineffective
Research shows that the use of torture is ineffective and counterproductive. At a UN high-level event, interrogators of high-value terror suspects explain why.
The Deputy High Commissioner presents Martin Ennals award for human rights defenders
Their standing up for us all is older than history". Mohamed Zaree of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights has chosen to remain in Egypt, where he faces a travel ban and criminal investigation.
Sustaining peace through human rights
"Human rights law is a load-bearing pillar of peace," High Commissioner Zeid said at a high-level event in New York on the importance of human rights in sustaining peace. In recent years, the UN Human Rights Office has ramped up efforts to provide early warnings of risks of severe human rights violations.
Building more effective health systems with a human-rights based approach
The HIV pandemic has taught us many essential lessons, the High Commissioner told the 2017 Social Forum in Geneva.
Gender discrimination, racial discrimination and women's human rights
The Human Rights Council examines the negative impacts of intersecting discrimination against women and girls in the context of racism and racial discrimination.
Children call for healthy environment to play
A traveling exhibition giving a child’s-eye view of a small Scottish community, sponsored by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and recently shown in Geneva, explores children’s views on the environment and how it impacts their lives.
Investigation of alleged human rights violations and abuses against the Rohingya
An independent fact-finding mission begins an inquiry into alleged human rights violations and abuses in Myanmar.
Global standards for businesses to tackle discrimination against LGBTI
An unprecedented new set of standards sets out actions companies can take to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people - whether in respect of human resources, investment, supply chains or marketing.
Disability rights body provides justice to albinism attack victim
A person with albinism whose arm was hacked off seeks remedy from the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities when his country, Tanzania, fails to prosecute his attackers.
Let individuals love whom they choose
High Commissioner Zeid tells a high-level UN General Assembly gathering that where equality for LGBTI people is a difficult topic to broach, given hostile public opinion, it is even more urgent for governments to act to protect the rights of LGBTI people.
“Ghost Nets”- Aboriginal art meets human rights
An intriguing exhibition displaying the works of indigenous Australians alerts us to the plight of one of the last remaining wilderness areas in the world.
Zeid: returned migrants robbed, raped and murdered in Libya
UN human rights chief says returning people to detention centres where they face torture, rape and other serious human rights violations is a clear breach of the international law prohibition of ‘non-refoulement’.
Spike in Yemen fighting causes massive civilian suffering
A new report by the UN Human Rights Office documents mounting violations of international human rights and humanitarian law against Yemen’s civilian population, as the conflict escalates in its third year.
UN report details catastrophic rights violations in Yemen
High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein says it is crucial for an independent international investigation to be established into the very serious human rights and humanitarian law violations in Yemen - to put on notice parties to the conflict that the international community is watching.
Burundi - A knife or a steel bar? How would you prefer to be killed?
In 2015, President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to stand for another term as head of state of Burundi. Since then, real or suspected government opponents have been hunted down, tortured or killed. The Commission of Inquiry on Burundi talks of crimes against humanity.
Battle for Raqqa must not be about defeating ISIL at all costs
High Commissioner Zeid stresses that the battle to regain Al-Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor from ISIL must not be waged at the expense of the lives of civilians trapped and besieged in these areas.
Report: Protestors in Venezuela subjected to human rights violations and abuses
A UN Human Rights Office report looking into the human rights violations and abuses during the protests in Venezuela over a four-month period shows the alarming increase in the use of force by security forces on protestors.
Venezuela violations and abuses indicate ‘policy to repress’
The policies of the Venezuelan authorities in response to recent protests have been at the cost of Venezuelans’ rights and freedoms, Zeid says.
Alarming deterioration in Rakhine was preventable, Zeid says, urging restraint
Decades of persistent and systematic human rights violations against Rohingya Mulsims in Myanmar have almost certainly contributed to the nurturing of violent extremism, with everyone ultimately losing, High Commissioner Zeid says.
End in sight for “marry your rapist” laws
Three countries in the Middle East and North Africa- Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia - repeal legislation that allowed rapists to avoid criminal charges if they marry their victims.
A day to renewing our pledge: no human being should be treated as a commodity
Today we commemorate the abolition of the slave trade and honour its victims. In a recent speech the High Commissioner reflected on the deep scars etched by the slave trade into contemporary societies - and how to heal those wounds.
Helping Iraqi victims of ISIL’s sexual violence rebuild their lives
Act now to help the thousands of women raped by ISIL in Iraq to rebuild their lives and ensure the children born as a result of such violence do not face a life of abuse, UN report urges Iraq’s Government.
Zeid hails reform of rape laws in Lebanon, Tunisia and Jordan
Zeid praises the tireless campaigns by human rights defenders that have led to the repeal of laws in Lebanon, Tunisia and Jordan that allowed rapists to avoid prosecution by marrying their victims.
Honouring lives lost in the service of human rights
"Today we honour our colleagues who have fallen; we cherish their memory and share their determination to continue to do what is right for our fellow human beings." - High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
Kenya at critical juncture – Zeid
Kenya's political leaders should do their utmost to calm a volatile political climate. If there are claims about the conduct of the elections, they should be made through constitutional and legal means. Zeid called for civil society actors and media to be allowed to work without hindrance or fear of retaliation.
Missing persons receive renewed attention in Kosovo*
The search for missing persons in Kosovo received a boost when the Human Rights Office of the UN Mission in Kosovo reached an agreement with Belgrade and Pristina authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross to redouble efforts to find and identify remains.
Bringing the Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples to life
In a speech last month the High Commissioner emphasised that protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, and safeguarding their deep knowledge of ecosystems, are essential to the destiny of humanity.
Widespread, systematic use of excessive force in Venezuela
A UN human rights team has identified a pattern of human rights violations in Venezuela since April 1, amid mass protests, with a breakdown of rule of law and constant attacks by the Government against the National Assembly and the Attorney-General’s Office. High Commissioner Zeid says the responsibility for these violations lies at the highest levels of Government.
DRC: Victims' harrowing accounts of massacres in Kasai
Victims describe massacres and mutiliations in the DRC's Kasai province where the violence appears to be taking on a disturbing ethnic dimension, aided by Government complicity - UN report.
Escaping the bonds of human trafficking: Pamela’s Story
The trafficking of human beings is one of the world’s most lucrative businesses, generating billions of dollars while destroying millions of lives. OHCHR’s UN Fund for Contemporary Forms of Slavery provides legal, social and psychological assistance to thousands of people subjected to human trafficking for forced labour and sexual exploitation.
Gross violations in Kasai to be examined by international experts
International human rights experts Bacre Ndiaye (Senegal), Luc Côté (Canada) and Fatimata M’Baye (Mauritania) have been appointed to look into reports of harrowing human rights violations against civilians in the Kasai regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
South African radio stations stand up for human rights
Community radio stations across South Africa were encouraged to join the “Stand up for someone’s rights today” campaign during a recent radio competition. The winning station solved a compensation issue for a local farm worker injured on the job.
Liu Xiaobo: The definition of civic courage and human dignity - Zeid
China's iconic peace and democracy figures Liu Xiaobo was the definition of civic courage and human dignity – an inspiration to human rights defenders everywhere - Zeid.
Justice and reconciliation needed to heal Iraq’s wounds – Zeid
With Mosul reaken by Iraqi security forces, Zeid urges real dialogue between communities to halt the cycle of violence and ensure ISIL’s crimes do not poison Iraqi society for generations.
Men and boys in the fight to eliminate violence against women
“We believe that men and boys are part of the solution (to the problem of violence against women)…and we need them engaged to stop violence against women,” said Lana Wells, a professor at the University of Calgary, Canada during a panel discussion on involving men and boys in the fight for gender equity at the Human Rights Council.
Central African Republic: efforts to fight impunity taking shape
Transitional justice is the way to sustainable peace in Central African Republic, say national, regional and UN representatives who discussed recommendations made in a UN report mapping 13 years of rights violations.
Civilians mustn't be sacrificed for rapid military victories
"The intense bombardment of Al-Raqqa over the past three weeks has reportedly left civilians terrified and confused about where they can seek refuge as they are caught between ISIL’s monstrosities and the fierce battle to defeat it,” High Commissioner Zeid says as he appeals for their protection.
Migrant survivors of torture: A ‘silent epidemic’ of trauma
Two-thirds of the 50,000 torture victims assisted by the UN Fund for Torture Victims are migrants and refugees. Experts stress that migrants and refugees who have experienced torture must be identified and offered treatment as soon as possible upon their arrival in border areas and reception centres.
Is international human rights law under threat: a lecture on international day for victims of torture
To overcome prejudice and uphold human rights requires a continuous investment of thought. The default flow in the minds of humanity may be reptilian; but the internal battle to overcome it is profoundly human.
Basic income possible solution to human rights problem of poverty
“Universal basic income could offer the solution to pressing problems that are about to become far more intractable as a result of the directions in which the global economy appears inexorably heading,” UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston said.
Zeid welcomes international investigation into DRC
The creation of an international investigation into allegations of gross violations in the Kasai regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo sends a strong message to perpetrators that the international community is serious about bringing them to justice.
Uncertain prospects for Boko Haram survivors
As more women and girls are freed from the violence of terror group Boko Haram, those returning to their communities do not always receive a survivor’s welcome. How can local authorities improve their reintegration into their communities and ensure their rehabilitation?
Crossing borders: A child’s journey
The numbers of refugee and migrant children travelling alone have hit a record high, with at least 300,000 unaccompanied minors recorded in nearly 80 countries during 2015-2016, a fivefold increase from 2010-2011. One former child migrant tells his story.
Horrific violations in the DRC require independent investigation
"A landscape of horror": harrowing reports of violations in the Kasais, and the launch of a new militia, indicate the need for international investigation, High Commissioner Zeid tells the Human Rights Council.
UN human rights investigators decry targeting of civilians in Syria
“The only way to end civilian suffering is to end this war,” the Commission of Inquiry on Syria told the Human Rights Council, as the conflict rages into its seventh year.
Women’s health at the heart of sustainable development
When women’s right to health is upheld, their access to all other human rights are enhanced, triggering a process of transformative change and greater development for all, said Tarja Halonen, co-chair of the High-Level Working Group on Health and Human Rights.
Central African Republic: UN mission determined to fulfil mandate despite attacks on peacekeepers
The UN envoy for the Central African Republic today warned against increasing attacks on civilians and peacekeeping personnel while stressing the need to reenergize the political process to achieve sustainable peace. ASG for Human Rights provided an update on the human rights mapping report.
"Diversity in humanity" clarion call for expert on sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights
To address violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, "it is essential to harness and reinforce mutual respect, tolerance and a sense of humanity," said Mr. Vitit Muntarbhorn, the first UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI).
DRC: Violations and abuses in the Kasais need international investigation
Zeid urges the UN Human Rights Council to establish an international investigation into human rights violations and abuses, including mass graves and massive displacement, in the Kasais provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
New NGO law deeply damaging for human rights in Egypt
A repressive new law issued in Egypt leaves human rights defenders even more vulnerable to sanctions and reprisals than they already are. Muzzling dissent can only lead to further instability, High Commissioner Zeid says.
After more than half a century, a community receives justice
After more than 50 years, the Rastafari community of Coral Gardens in Jamaica have received recognition, recompense and an expression of regret of the human rights violations against hundreds of Rastafarians across the island. The UN Human Rights Advisor assisted the community in their advocacy to honour the commitment to justice.
Airstrikes, ISIL causing civilian casualties in Syria
The same civilians who are suffering indiscriminate shelling and summary executions by ISIL, are also falling victim to the escalating airstrikes, particularly in the northeastern governorates of Al-Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor.
Stand up for human rights to – and through - health
Human rights cannot be fully enjoyed without health, nor can health be fully realized without the dignity upheld by human rights. A new report launched by a group of UN experts calls on Governments to stand up for the human rights to health through health by taking concrete actions to deliver on existing promises to fund, protect and expand health care provision.
Stand up for human rights to - and through - health
A report by the High-Level Group on health and human rights calls for tangible action to advance the right to health of all, in particular women, children and adolescents. Health workers, as human rights defenders, can play an indispensable role in making this happen.
Towards a global compact on migration
A huge step forward for migrants, as UN Member States begin discussions to reach a new international agreement in 2018 to uphold the human rights of migrants. “We have effectively broken the barrier of silence,” say human rights expert on migration François Crepeau.
Landmark partnership with Microsoft
The UN Human Rights Office's five-year agreement with Microsoft is an opportunity to develop and use advanced technology to better predict, analyse and respond to critical human rights situations, and highlights the private sector's role in helping advance human rights globally.
Violence and insecurity spreading in CAR
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expresses grave alarm over the expanding attacks by armed groups against the civilian population in several parts of the Central African Republic in recent months, as well as attacks against UN peacekeepers in the southeast.
High Commissioner Zeid visits Uzbekistan
High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the human rights reforms initiated by the new administration in Uzbekistan could, if successfully implemented, have a transformational impact on the country's future.
Moves to impeach Nepal Chief Justice an assault on human rights
Zeid urges the Government in Nepal to respect the independence of the judiciary, and withdraw what appears to be a politically motivated impeachment motion against the Chief Justice, Sushila Karki.
War-weary civilians at imminent risk of further violence
Women, children and men who fled violence in the Upper Nile region of South Sudan in the most horrifying circumstances are now trapped in Aburoc town, at imminent risk of gross human rights violations and inter-ethnic violence.
New mobile app puts human rights at your fingertips
Users who wish to stay informed about human rights can stay better informed directly on their phone via the new UN Human Rights Office app, available for both Apple and Android phones.
People of African Descent: doing more time for less crime
People of African descent face similar types of rights violations perpetrated by State institutions on both sides of the Atlantic. Their cries for justice can still be heard.
Indigenous peoples are ‘moral compass of humanity,’ special UN General Assembly meeting told
Endorsement of the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples does not equal implementation, speakers told the General Assembly at a special meeting to celebrate the Declaration’s tenth anniversary
Zeid calls for justice after more mass graves discovered in DRC
The DRC Government must ensure there is a transparent and independent investigation into alleged human rights violations and abuses by all parties, Zeid says, after 17 further mass graves are found in the Kasais.
Migrants face border closures and exclusion, amid rising hostility
Rights defenders joined the UN Human Rights Office in calling on the Human Rights Council to strengthen protections for migrants and support development of a rights-based global compact for migration.
Rape chants lay bare campaign of terror by Burundi militia
A chilling video of Imbonerakure militia members in Burundi chanting a call to impregnate or kill opponents is an alarming indication of the militia's campaign of fear and terror, Zeid warns.
Escalating erosion of the right to health is a critical human rights issue
Healthcare is not a privilege; it is a right, and it requires public policy. It is also a lever for everyone's economic, social and political advancement.
Beirut Declaration enhances role of religions in promoting human rights
Finding common ground among diverse faith groups results in a new multi-faith initiative to protect religious freedom and uphold human rights.
Protecting the rights of detainees in Syria
Protection of detainees and the disappeared in Syria was the focus of a recent panel discussion held during the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The discussion focused on the experiences of former detainees as well as providing some ways forward.
Dangers of undermining international law and institutions
We must stand up for the principles and institutions which protect us from chaos; or will our generation trigger a return to injustice, hate, war, imperialism and the oppressive exercise of naked power? - Zeid
Hunted for their body parts
The killing of human beings and the use of their body parts in amulets and potions in “traditional medicine” and in witchcraft is a crime, says the UN expert on the rights of people with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero.
Preserve separation of powers, Zeid urges Venezuela
Zeid stresses the importance of the separation of powers for democracy and human rights, as he urges Venezuela’s Supreme Court to reconsider a ruling to strip the National Assembly of its legislative powers.
Protection of civilians paramount as ISIL intensifies use of human shields
High Commissioner Zeid urges Iraqi and Coalition forces to scrupulously respect international humanitarian law, to avoid loss of civilian lives, particularly given ISIL's cowardly strategy of using civilians as human shields.
Access to essential medicines is a fundamental element of the right to health
“Millions are unable today to access essential medicines not due to any inherent lack of these commodities, but to entirely man-made policy deficits and entrenched practices,” said UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore at a panel discussion on access to medicines during the recent UN Human Rights Council.
Two years of war, 13,000 civilian casualties in Yemen
The violent deaths of refugees fleeing yet another war, of fishermen, of families in marketplaces, millions of people desperate for their basic rights to food, water, health and security - this is what the conflict in Yemen looks like two years after it began.
Your views matter: Help the UN Human Rights Office define its strategic direction for 2018-2021
The UN Human Rights Office is defining its strategic direction for the next four years and would appreciate your input. Please take a brief survey to help us make the best strategic choices to stand up for human rights.
Eliminating racial discrimination to build trusting societies
The UN Human Rights Council commemorates the International Day against Racial Discrimination with a debate on racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration.
Target hate speech and hate crimes, Zeid urges States
Hate speech and hate crimes make it necessary for us all to take a stand against racism and xenophobia, Zeid says in a call to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
National Human rights institutions link international law to local action
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussien speaks with Beate Rudolf, chair of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions during a recent meeting in Geneva. NHRIs provide an integral link between international human rights law and their countries.
Undoing slavery's legacy of injustice and discrimination
The International Decade for People of African Descent, which will run until 2024, aims to honour and restore the dignity of people of African descent by raising awareness and sparking real change.
International, impartial, independent: hope for accountability in Syria
Probably tens of thousands of people are currently detained in Syria. In a sense the entire country has become a torture chamber - a place of savage horror and absolute injustice.
Serious rights violations in southeast Turkey
The displacement of thousands of people and the wholesale destruction of neighbourhoods in southeast Turkey during Government security operations are detailed in a UN report.
'We need to protect each other and stand up for what we believe in'
"At times such as these, human rights are too important to be left to governments alone. We must also act, in our own lives, to uphold human rights," High Commissioner Zeid tells the FIDHR film festival in Geneva.
Children at forefront of climate action urge focus on child rights
“The battle against climate change is one that we can’t afford to lose because it’s the greatest threat to our survival,” 16-year-old Kehkashan Basu told the Human Rights Council.
Backlash against women's rights hurts us all - Zeid
Zeid calls for us all to stand up for women's rights as the world marks International Women's Day on 8 March, warning that advances in women's equality should nowhere be taken for granted.
A girl's education comes first, marriage will follow later
Thanks to her human rights training, a pupil prevents an early marriage and stands up for girls’ education.
Attacks on Syrian civilians and aid workers in Aleppo were war crimes
“The scale of what happened in Aleppo is unprecedented,” the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said, issuing its new report. The Commission found war crimes were committed by government forces and opposition groups in the brutal battle to control Aleppo.
New agreement on activities between Mexico and the UN Human Rights Office
The Office looks forward to assisting Mexico in meeting challenges to human rights, including impunity.
Zeid calls for immediate halt to DRC killings
Zeid calls on the DRC Government to act amid credible allegations of massive human rights violations in the DRC, including people being targeted by soldiers for their alleged affiliation with a local militia.
Libya Gaddafi regime trial: Missed opportunity for justice
UN report makes key recommendations for the Libyan justice system, finding that the trial of 37 members of Col Muammar Gaddafi’s regime fell short of international standards.
Conflict and violence are the offspring of human rights violations
At a major human rights conference in the Arab region, Deputy High Commissioner Kate Gilmore speaks to the power of human rights to prevent conflicts and rebuild broken societies.
Film festival: the road to safety
The 2017 edition of the Global Road Safety Film Festival marks 10 years of raising awareness of safety of the world’s road and preventing road traffic casualties and injuries.
A decade on, UN urges all Governments to endorse convention on enforced disappearance
Marking the tenth anniversary of an historic treaty to keep people from suffering enforced disappearance or secret detentions, the UN urged all Governments that have not done so to ratify it, as the world body honoured victims separated from their loved ones.
Ukraine conflict: End impunity for sexual violence
“What’s the point of saying what happened to me? No one will punish them.” UN report documents how survivors of sexual assault in the context of the armed conflict in Ukraine are often denied justice.
Life in a political earthquake: The stabilising force of human rights
Standing up for human rights is the best answer to spreading protectionism, nationalism and apparent attempts to undermine international law: Zeid
Investment in human rights today makes for prevention tomorrow
The UN Human Rights Office launches a 253M USD funding appeal, urging States and private donors to support its work, through its 60 field presences and partnerships with others, to bolster human rights protections in an uncertain world.
"Stand up and join the struggle to uphold human rights"
At the ISFIT student festival in Norway, Deputy High Commissioner Kate Gilmore urged students from all over the world to uphold the vital principles of equality, justice, dignity and respect.
Civilians in Yemen caught between warring parties
Civilians were trapped and targeted during fighting in Al Mokha, and there are real fears that the situation will repeat itself in the port of Al Hudaidah, to the north of Al Mokha, where air strikes are already intensifying, Zeid warns.
Record number of child casualties in Afghanistan
Civilian casualties in Afghanistan reached a record high in 2016. More children than ever have been killed, blinded, crippled while playing with unexploded ordnance negligently left behind by parties to the conflict.
Devastating cruelty against Rohingyas in Myanmar
A mother witnessing her child’s murder as she herself was being gang-raped is one of many shocking accounts of violence and violations told to UN Human Rights staff by Rohingyas who have fled Myanmar.
Commemorating the victims of the Holocaust
As we honour the victims of the Holocaust, we must also acknowledge the need to prevent the recurrence of anti-Semitism and all forms of racial and religious hatred and discrimination today.
ISIL ‘deliberately targeting’ civilians in eastern Mosul
ISIL continues to target civilians in parts of Mosul recaptured by Iraqi forces with shelling and improvised explosive attacks, and reportedly shooting people attempting to flee the areas it still controls.
Azimjan Askarov verdict in Kyrgyzstan ‘deeply troubling’
The decision by a court in Kyrgyzstan to uphold a life sentence against political activist and journalist Azimjan Askarov highlights serious shortcomings in the country’s judicial system, Zeid says.
Victim to victor: the story of Souleymane Guengueng
Souleymane Guengueng is one of the victims of torture who has demanded justice for the atrocities they endured under the dictatorship of Chad’s Hissène Habré.
Civilians in South Sudan live under constant risk of mass atrocities
A UN report details grave human rights violations, including killings and gang rapes, committed in Juba in July 2016. Six months later, there remains widespread impunity, as abuses continue unabated.
Davos: Business leaders must stand up for human rights
High Commissioner Zeid calls on business leaders at Davos to use their considerable influence to stand up for human rights and to join in the fight to defend the global values that are currently under threat.
Engaging in critical dialogues for human rights and peace in Mali
Members of an armed separatist group listen to a presentation by the UN Human Rights and Protection Division in Ber, northern Mali. The meeting is part of a critical strategy to engage extremist groups in human rights dialogue, said Division Director Guillaume Ngefa.
Minority rights must be top priority in humanitarian crisis
Conflicts driven by sectarian ideologies fuel discrimination and abuse against minorities, targeting groups like the Yazidi religious minority in Iraq.
Best practices to achieve “virtuous cycle for human rights progress"
The UN Human Rights Office releases two new publications aimed at helping Governments improve human rights reporting and implementation.