Human Rights – UN News Centre

A world of news from the world organization

Human rights must be maintained in beating back the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘without exception’ – UN experts

Dozens of independent UN human rights experts stressed on Thursday that in addition to public health and emergency measures, battling the COVID-19 pandemic, must respect the fundamental human rights of every individual.

FROM THE FIELD: Threatened Brazilian activist fights for slavery descendants' rights

A Brazilian activist who regularly receives threats of violence says he will continue fighting for the right of people of African descent to access land and property in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

UN rights chief urges quick action by governments to prevent devastating impact of COVID-19 in places of detention

COVID-19 has begun to strike in prisons, jails and immigration detention centres, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned on Wednesday, as she urged Governments “not to forget hose behind bars” and to protect those working in closed facilities in their overall efforts to contain the pandemic

Moving forward requires confronting slavery’s ‘racist legacy’: UN chief

In his message for the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, observed on Wednesday, the UN Secretary-General called for the dismantling of racist structures and institutions so that the world can move forward.

Ease sanctions against countries fighting COVID-19: UN human rights chief

As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday called for an easing of sanctions against countries such as Iran to allow their medical systems to fight the disease and limit its global spread. 

Water access critical to beating back COVID-19 spread in slum areas

As regular hand washing is a key tool in combating COVID-19, the UN and its partners are taking steps to ensure people living in informal settlements have access to running water at this critical time, according to the agency working to achieve more sustainable cities.

New global platform to keep information networks ‘safer, stronger’ throughout COVID-19 pandemic

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) launched a new platform on Monday to help global networks under increasing strain and facing rising demand during the COVID-19 crisis to remain “safer, stronger and more connected”, according to the specialized agency’s chief.

UN expert raises alarm over migrant, asylum seeker ‘pushbacks’ at Turkey-Greece border 

Greece must take immediate action to end the violence against migrants and asylum seekers at the border between Turkey and Greece, an independent UN human rights expert said on Monday, expressing alarm at reports of violence at the hands of some Greek security officers and unidentified armed men.

UN rights chief urges South Sudan authorities to address inter-communal violence

Authorities in South Sudan must address intercommunal violence if the nation is to achieve lasting peace, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday, in response to a recent escalation in fighting in the east and central parts of the country.  

Preventing discrimination against people with disabilities in COVID-19 response

Unless Governments and communities take action, discrimination against people with disabilities could increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, an expert with the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. 

Talking to your children about coronavirus: Let them know you’re listening, remind them you care

As many adults are overwhelmed and anxious about the coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations shined a light on how children may be feeling and urged parents to have open, supportive discussions to help them cope.

UN human rights chief: racism and xenophobia are ‘contagious killers’ too

The coronavirus outbreak may have forced millions around the world already into “social distancing”, keeping a metre apart to prevent its spread, but it will not stop them from uniting to combat racism, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights declared in Geneva on Friday. 

Iran: BBC and other broadcast journalists harassed; families threatened – UN experts 

Threats, unlawful surveillance and harassment by the authorities, are just some of the concerns facing journalists in Iran, prompting a group of independent UN human rights experts on Wednesday, to once again sound the alarm.

Educate children in their mother tongue, urges UN rights expert

Children from linguistic minorities should be taught in their own mother tongue, said the UN independent expert on minority issues, presenting his latest report on Wednesday to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.  

Democracy is sliding away in Myanmar, warns top rights investigator

Daily fighting in Myanmar, widespread internet blackouts and reporting restrictions, indicate that the shift to more democratic rule is “sliding away”, a senior UN-appointed independent rights investigator said on Wednesday.

UN programme to help spare millions from child marriage, extended to 2023

Millions of girls have been able to avoid “an unwanted marriage and an unwelcome end to their childhood”, since the launch four years ago, of a joint UN agency programme, the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday. 

Burundi election countdown amid ‘deteriorating’ human rights situation

Two months ahead of Burundi’s planned local and presidential elections, senior UN-appointed independent rights investigators have urged the Government to reopen the “democratic, civil and political space” there.

COVID-19: countries, businesses must safeguard human rights as virus spreads: Bachelet 

As the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread globally, the UN’s top human rights official appealed on Friday to put rights “front and centre” when implementing preventative measures. 

Violent extremism prevention ‘only effective’ if human rights are enshrined

Many global programmes aimed at countering violent extremism have negative impacts on human rights and may even ‘foster radicalization’ rather than preventing it, an independent UN human rights expert warned on Wednesday.

Human rights defenders, too often left defenceless themselves – UN expert

Human rights defenders working in conflict and post-conflict situations need to be given greater recognition, protection and support, an independent UN expert said on Wednesday, in his latest report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

World remains a ‘violent, highly discriminatory place’ for girls

Twenty-five years after the historic Beijing women’s conference in China – a milestone in advancing equal rights – violence against women and girls is not only common, but widely accepted, a new UN report revealed on Wednesday.

Greater progress needed to ensure safe return of displaced Rohingya: UN refugee agency chief

UN agencies together with the Bangladesh authorities have appealed for $877 million to support hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, where conditions are still not conducive for their safe return, UN refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi said on Tuesday.

No country is free from child sexual abuse, exploitation, UN’s top rights forum hears

Child sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and the use of children in prostitution “are a reality in all parts of the world”, the Human Rights Council heard on Tuesday.

Use of religious beliefs to justify rights violations must be outlawed says UN expert

Laws underpinned by religious conviction that discriminate against women and the  LGBT+ community should be repealed, and gender-based violence carried out in the name of religion by non-State groups must be addressed, an independent UN expert said on Monday in a report presented to the Human Rights Council.

US Israel-Palestinian peace plan a ‘mockery’, upends long-standing consensus – International Conference hears

The United States’ announcement of a new vision for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, touted as the “Deal of the Century”, is a “mockery”, the Prime Minister of Malaysia told an international conference in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Connecticut prison warning: Prolonged solitary confinement may ‘amount to torture’, UN expert warns

The “excessive use” of solitary confinement by the prison service in the US state of Connecticut, prompted an independent UN human rights expert to voice alarm on Friday.

Myanmar: ‘Multidimensional and long-standing’ root causes behind rights minority abuses, says Bachelet

The Human Rights Council on Thursday held an interactive dialogue with UN rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, on the root causes of violations and abuses suffered by the Rohingya mainly-Muslim minority and other minorities in Myanmar. She said the Government now has a historic opportunity to counteract systematic violations, "by bringing its people together, as one".

No country should make ‘fatal’ mistake of ignoring COVID-19: Tedros

All countries should do more to prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus and none should make the “fatal” mistake of assuming that it won’t be affected,  UN health agency chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Thursday.

Impunity persists for alleged violations in Occupied Palestinian Territories, UN Human Rights Council hears

Justice is still absent for Palestinian demonstrators shot by Israeli soldiers during weekly protests in Gaza, the UN Human Rights Council heard on Wednesday.

UN human rights chief warns of women’s rights complacency

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has warned against complacency on women’s rights at an event marking the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, a landmark agenda for the empowerment of women.