​​​​​​​​​​Human Rights - New York

Feature stories

Right to participation matters more than ever: UN Secretary-General
Meaningful public participation in decision-making is a human right that must be defended and enhanced in the face of pushback, an imperative heightened by crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told an OHCHR event at the UN General Assembly.
Victims mount as extreme nationalism fuels racism
From Montenegro to New Zealand, racist intimidation and violence cast a dark shadow over this year’s global commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Tortured lives after the death penalty
At the screening of the BBC documentary “Fallout” at the UN in New York, exonerated death row victims narrate their struggles to piece together their broken lives without government compensation or support.
Still powerful: UDHR at 70
In an era of “backlash against human rights,” how can the 70-year-old Universal Declaration of Human Rights help to solve today’s and emerging global challenges?
SDGs: Leaving no one behind? Some are being pushed back
Are we succeeding in meeting the promise to “leave no one behind” in the implementation of the sustainable development agenda? Despite progress in key areas, we are falling short. How can we catch up?
‘I just wanted to die’ says torture survivor on way to recovery
On her birthday, 26 June, which is the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, a torture survivor spoke at the United Nations about how a rehabilitation programme has turned her life around.
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.
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
Atrocities will end in South Sudan only when perpetrators 'face consequences' – UN rights official
“This is a war that has been waged against the men, women and children of South Sudan,” said the UN Assistant Secretary-General for human rights, Andrew Gilmour, as he wrapped up a four-day visit to country.
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.
ISIL forces civilians towards Mosul airport; UN rights office probes reports of mass graves
Islamic State (Da’esh) fighters have forced 1,500 families towards the airport in Mosul, OHCHR said, adding that it is also looking into reports of mass graves near the city.
UN human rights official underscores effects of death penalty on range of victims
UN launches a new publication on the death penalty and victims at a high-level event on the margins of the 71st General Assembly.
Ban calls for continued efforts to secure equal rights for LGBT community
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the international community to continue working for equal rights and fair treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Indonesia: UN rights chief urges region's 'most prolific executioner' to end practice
The UN rights chief expressed alarm at reports that up to 14 people face imminent execution in Indonesia, calling on the authorities to immediately reinstate a moratorium on the death penalty.
Afghan civilian casualties hit half-year record, with 5,166 dead or maimed – UN
In the first six months of this year, 5,166 civilians were either killed or maimed in Afghanistan, a half-year record since counting began in 2009, a new UN report shows.
Policing human rights in Myanmar
UN human rights officers travel the length and breadth of Myanmar to train over 1,000 police officers on the best practices that drive human rights-based policing.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the UK, UN panel finds
The founder of the WikiLeaks website, has been arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the United Kingdom, as a result of the legal action against him by both Governments, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said.
New stamps promoting LGBT equality worldwide unveiled at UN
The UN Postal Administration unveiled a set of six commemorative stamps to promote UN Free & Equal – a global UN campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality launched and led by OHCHR.
UN human rights chief calls on Thai Government to probe scores of enforced disappearances
Calling on Thailand to criminalize enforced disappearance in line with international standards, the High Commissioner urged the Government to investigate the whereabouts of at least 82 people listed as disappeared.
Yemen: civilian casualties top 8,100 as airstrikes and shelling continue, UN reports
Civilians are suffering a “terrible toll” in the fighting tearing Yemen apart, with casualties now topping 8,100, nearly 2,800 of them killed, the UN reported.
Wrecked Lives, Corporate Losses & Sluggish Growth: the Real Cost of Discrimination
Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people hurts people, companies and nations is the message of a new UN Free & Equal Campaign video narrated by Star Trek Actor Zachary Quinto.
UN chief calls on Iran, Saudi Arabia to avoid further exacerbating tensions after executions
In his call to Saudi Foreign Minister, the UN Secretary-General reiterated his opposition to capital punishment and his disappointment at the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr. Speaking to Iranian Foreign Minister, Mr. Ban urged him to take the necessary measures to protect diplomatic facilities.
UN officials 'deeply dismayed' by Saudi executions, urge commuting all death sentences
Top UN officials have expressed deep dismay over yesterday's executions by Saudi Arabia of 47 people, including Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, and called on the country's authorities to commute all death sentences.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Close to 8,000 people killed in eastern Ukraine, says UN human rights report
Close to 8,000 people have lost their lives in eastern Ukraine since mid-April 2014, according to the latest report by the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in the country.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
In Bogotá, UN deputy rights chief says ‘peace is the only option’ for Colombia
The road to peace is a complex and winding one, the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights said today during her visit to Colombia, a country with a “unique opportunity to evolve into a society” where everyone enjoys rights equally and without discrimination.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In South Sudan, senior UN official says ‘no doubt’ rights violations are ongoing
“There is a common message coming from everyone, be they women or men, young or old, Nuer or Dinka. People want peace.” Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović, told reporters in Juba, South Sudan.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Human Rights Prizes awarded in New York on Human Rights Day
In a ceremonial session of the UN General Assembly, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson awarded the prizes to winners of the 2013 UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights.
2013 United Nations Human Rights Prize
Every five years, the UN Human Rights Prize is an award given to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights.
New UN campaigns use Google search results to reveal prevalence of sexism and homophobia
New social media campaign uses Google search results to reveal hidden depths of homophobic hate.
Unprecedented ministerial meeting on LGBT rights protection
Foreign ministers call for worldwide respect of the human rights of LGBT people at the first ministerial UN meeting on that issue.
Vienna+20: A new vision for human rights
The Vienna+20 high-level event, held at the United Nations in New York, brought together Presidents, Ministers, civil society, the Deputy Secretary-General and, for the first time ever, two former and the current UN Human Rights Chiefs, to reflect on the human rights progress over the past 20 years and the way forward.
Free and Equal: a new global public education campaign against homophobia and transphobia
The UN Human Rights Office officially launches Free & Equal—an unprecedented global public education campaign to promote greater respect for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people everywhere.
Moving away from the death penalty: spotlight on wrongful convictions
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Member States to move towards the abolition of the death penalty: “We have a duty to prevent innocent people from paying the ultimate price for miscarriages of justice.“
Grounding the Post 2015 Agenda in the human rights of people most affected by extreme poverty
The new development framework after 2015 should build upon the lessons learned from the MDGs process, and further the civil and political, as well as economic and social human rights of people in extreme poverty, actors say.
“The Riddle”: What exists in every corner of the world but remains illegal in more than 70 countries?
“The Riddle”, a video produced by the UN Human Rights Office and released to coincide with the International Day against Homophobia, draws attention to the impact of homophobia and transphobia on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world.
Pillay renews call to refer Syria to world criminal court
UN human right chief, Navi Pillay, tells UN Security Council that referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court could help stem human rights violations.
Justice for victims of economic, social and cultural rights violations
UN agreement empowering victims of economic, social and cultural rights violations to seek justice set to enter into force.
UN taps celebrity power in fight against homophobia
Pop singer Ricky Martin and the “Princess of Africa” Yvonne Chaka Chaka stand with UN chief Ban Ki-moon to call for an end to violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Austerity measures may violate human rights
As governments respond to public deficits by tightening their belts, they risk failing in their international obligations to protect social and economic rights.
Rule of law without human rights is an empty shell
At a United Nations meeting on the rule of law, world leaders reaffirm linkages between human rights, rule of law and democracy and make pledges to strengthen the rule of law.
UN leads the way on disability rights
Government, civil society and United Nations representatives discuss ways to strengthen protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities.
Born Free and Equal
A new publication of the UN Human Rights Office sets out the source and scope of State obligations under international human rights law to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Dying to tell the story: Safety of journalists in conflict
Despite UN and civil society efforts to strengthen the safety of journalists covering conflict, their job remains dangerous.
How women's rights treaty serves Jamaican women
Joyce Hewett, representing Jamaican NGOs at the 52nd session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, explains why the work of the Committee is important to women in her country.
Learning to negotiate human rights
United Nations diplomats expand their knowledge of human rights and how to reflect them in their work
Fair trial and due process in the counter-terrorism context
Experts and practitioners discuss how to better protect human rights while responding to terrorism in Europe.
Working towards more women leaders
UN women’s rights committee celebrates 30th anniversary with a focus on women’s political participation and leadership
Calls for end to death penalty
With United Nations member countries set to discuss the abolition of the death penalty later this year, activists and top UN officials call for an end to capital punishment.
Wanted: New ways to protect civilians in conflict
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, says international community has a responsibility to use every tool available to protect civilians in armed conflict.
UN officials press for united action to end Syria crisis
Amid growing atrocities and little evidence that the Syrian Government is living up to its commitment to stop the ongoing violence, United Nations officials urge the world community to act with one voice to end the crisis.
Novel effort to prevent torture reaches milestone
While torture remains a reality in all regions, a pioneering mechanism adopted 10 years ago to prevent the practice gains ground.
Congolese migrants suffer dire abuses in Angola
Beaten, raped, robbed and humiliated, thousands of Congolese migrants leave Angola with nothing but shattered dreams.
Wanted: Human Rights in Rio
Civil society and UN experts call for an inclusive, just and equitable outcome at the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
A one-of-a-kind UN Human Rights database
The updated Universal Human Rights Index database puts more than a decade of human rights data and recommendations at your fingertips.
Rapping silently for equality
UN teams up with Finnish hip-hop artist Signmark to promote the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Stronger treaty monitoring for better human rights results
With the UN’s human rights treaty monitoring system stretched, the international community discusses means to strengthen the system and its role in protecting human rights.
People-centred Development: What the Arab Spring taught us
Economic growth without decent jobs, social inclusion and fair distribution of benefits is not true development.
Using geography to protect human rights
Satellite imagery can provide evidence of gross human rights abuses, ranging from burnt villages to mass graves
Combating homophobic violence against women
A combination of legal reforms and public education needed to combat discrimination and violence against lesbians, bisexual women and transgender persons.
States set for second human rights review
In the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, countries are expected to report on human rights commitments made during the first cycle.
Human rights chief urges united action on Syria
UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, tells world body to “act now” to end the bloodshed in Syria.
How human rights secure peace
Top UN officials underscore the importance of human rights in preventing and ending conflict.
Strengthening human rights in peace operations
Heads of human rights sections of United Nations peace missions meet in New York to discuss promotion and protection of human rights through peace operations.
Human Rights concerns about armed brigades holding detainees in Libya
Addressing the UN Security Council on the situation in Libya, Pillay warned that, “lack of oversight by the central authorities creates an environment conducive to torture and ill treatment.” She urged the Libyan ministry of justice and the prosecutor’s
Making a human rights wish
Join United Nations human rights chief, Navi Pillay, and thousands around the world in making a wish for human rights.
A year for people of African descent
A chapter closes but another one opens: the International Year should lead to an International Decade for People of African Descent.
Political transitions provide opportunities to promote women’s human rights
Political transitions provide a unique opportunity to promote the human rights of women.
Campaigning on social networks for human rights in Tunisia
Under the pseudonym of Hamadi Kaloutcha, Sofiane Belhaj, a blogger and human rights defender, has been campaigning on social networks against former President Ben Ali’s regime since 2007.
Make a wish for Human Rights
What would you wish for? The UN Human Rights office launches its very own Mash Up video as part of its social media campaign launched to celebrate Human Rights on its 10 December birthday. The Mash Up video is there to inspire and help you make a choice.
16 Days of Activism: 15 years of initiatives to end violence against women
Since its creation in 1996, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women has delivered more than USD 78 million to support 339 initiatives around the world.
Human Rights based approach to trafficking
The human rights- based approach to trafficking places the victim at the centre of any credible action to this problem through addressing the root causes and the factors increasing vulnerabilities.
16 days of activism to eliminate violence against women
The 16 days of activism campaign, which runs from 25 November to 10 December, calls for the elimination of violence against women and invites everyone to take action against it.
A new social contract needed to advance the realization of the right to development
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urges the global community to negotiate a “new social contract”, to achieve the social, economic, cultural and political progress envisaged in the Declaration on the Right to Development.
For children on the streets there are no soft pillows
The UN Human Rights office convenes experts from many countries in the search for the most effective ways to help children living on the streets whose voices are seldom heard and whose rights are regularly abused with impunity.

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