Human Rights – UN News Centre

A world of news from the world organization

Over-compliance with US sanctions hurting Iran’s ‘butterfly kids’

Over-compliance with United States-imposed sanctions against Iran is harming the right to health, and people with a rare skin disease are among those affected, many of them children, experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council said on Tuesday. 

‘Sexism and misogyny’ heightened; women’s freedoms supressed

Gender-based violence, hate speech and disinformation are being used extensively online and offline, to chill or kill women’s freedom of expression, an independent UN human rights expert told the General Assembly on Monday.

Rising poverty a ‘moral indictment of our times’: Guterres 

For the first time in two decades, extreme poverty is on the rise, the UN chief said in his message released on Friday, marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, on 17 October.   

The right to a clean and healthy environment: 6 things you need to know

On 8 October, loud and unusual applause reverberated around the chamber of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. A battle fought for decades by environmental activists and rights’ defenders, had finally borne fruit.

Myanmar: In race against time, experts collect evidence of rights violations 

For more than two years, a UN-appointed team of 59 people has been collecting and analyzing more than two million pieces of evidence about possible human rights violations in Myanmar.  

Paraguay violated indigenous rights, UN committee rules in landmark decision

Paraguay’s failure to prevent the toxic contamination of indigenous people’s traditional lands by commercial farming violates their rights and their sense of “home”, the UN Human Rights Committee said in a landmark ruling on Wednesday. 

Hong Kong: Arrests under Security Law, a serious concern

The arrest of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and woman human rights defender Chow Hang-Tung, on charges of “incitement to subversion” and being a foreign agent, is a source of “deep concern” four UN independent human rights experts said on Tuesday.

Girlpower from Tajikistan to Costa Rica, helps narrow gender gap online

A marked global gender gap in terms of internet use continues to grow, but from Syria to Costa Rica, girls are increasingly pushing back to try and narrow the gap. 

Journalists who ‘speak truth to power’ recognized with Nobel Peace Prize

Two campaigning journalists were awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, which UN Secretary-General António Guterres said was recognition that a free press is “essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights – and the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions”. 

COVID-induced inequities demand ‘New Social Contract’ says rights chief

COVID-19 has “laid bare deep structural inequalities” everywhere, further widening a multitude of gaps, both within and between countries, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights told a major urban policy event in South Korea on Thursday.  

Libya: War crimes likely committed since 2016, UN probe finds

War crimes and crimes against humanity have likely been committed in Libya by all parties to conflict since 2016 including by external actors, a Human Rights Council-appointed probe said on Monday. 

UN rights chief calls for investigation into ‘heartbreaking’ killing of veteran Rohingya activist

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for a prompt, thorough, and effective investigation into the killing of a veteran Rohingya activist at a refugee camp in Bangladesh.   

Iraq: ‘Moral obligation’ to ensure justice for Yazidi and other survivors of ISIL crimes 

A new Iraqi law to support Yazidi women survivors of crimes committed by ISIL terrorists, represents “a watershed moment” in addressing the wrongs committed against them and other minority groups, the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict told an event on Thursday, highlighting the need for effective reparations.

‘Urgent’ international response needed in Myanmar: UN chief 

An “urgent” international response is needed to prevent the crisis in Myanmar from becoming a “catastrophe” in the heart of Southeast Asia and beyond, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned. In a report sent to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, the UN chief also said he feared that the military’s grip on power would become increasingly difficult to counter. 

Comprehensive support needed for Haitians facing expulsion in Americas

Vulnerable Haitian men, women and children on the move in the Americas, should not be expelled from countries where they have found shelter, UN agencies said in a protection appeal on Thursday.

‘We are one’: musical performance ‘King Clavé’ reveals that we are ‘interconnected’   

Based on the core belief that “humanity is deeply interconnected” and “we are one”, the new performance piece, "King Clavé" is adding some musical inspiration to this year’s 20th anniversary of the historic Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) against racism around the globe.  

Alleged reprisals and intimidation against 240 who cooperated with UN 

Allegations of reprisals and intimidation were documented against some 240 civil society members, activists and journalists, across 45 countries in the year up to 31 April, simply because they had been cooperating with the United Nations.  

Families of missing migrants, forced to search alone

Urgent support is needed for tens of thousands of missing migrant families who are often forced to rely on smugglers and other informal networks, to trace loved ones, the International Organization for Migration's (IOM) said on Wednesday.

For 55 million displaced, status quo ‘not an option’

Nationally-owned solutions must be found for more than 55 million people displaced within their own countries, according to a new report presented to the UN Secretary-General by the High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, released on Wednesday.

COVID-19 caused ‘shocking’ inequalities: human rights chief Bachelet

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has caused and perpetuated “truly shocking” inequality that has affected the world’s most vulnerable individuals, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday, in a call for greater coronavirus vaccine solidarity and a human rights-led post-pandemic economic recovery.

Syria: 10 years of war has left at least 350,000 dead

A decade of war in Syria has left more 350,200 people dead, High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet told the Human Rights Council on Friday, noting that this total was an “under-count of the actual number of killings”.

Afghanistan: Girls’ education must be a given, urges deputy UN chief

Ensuring all Afghan girls can be educated must be “a zero condition” for the Taliban, before international recognition of their de facto authority, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said on Friday.

Human rights in Belarus continue downward spiral, warns Bachelet

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday that she continues to be alarmed by “persistent allegations” of “widespread and systematic torture” of protesters in Belarus. 

UNICEF: Haiti children vulnerable to ‘violence, poverty and displacement’

As Haiti continues to reel from the “triple tragedy” of natural disasters, gang violence and the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed concern on Thursday that two-thirds of Haitian migrants expelled from the United States border in recent days are women and children – including newborns with “specific and immediate needs”.

South Sudan plagued by violence and corruption, Human Rights Council hears 

South Sudan continues to be “plagued” by violence and corruption, the Human Rights Council heard on Thursday, jeopardizing the young nation’s efforts to establish lasting peace and put it on the road towards sustainable development. 

Human rights ‘catastrophe’ in Myanmar: UN calls for urgent action  

Urgent action is needed to prevent the situation in Myanmar from escalating into a “full-blown conflict”, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned on Thursday.   

Myanmar: UN expert says current international efforts failing, urges ‘change of course’

The UN independent rights expert on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, told the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday that conditions inside the country following the 1 February military coup have worsened, urging a “change of course” to prevent further human rights abuses and deaths.

20 years after Durban Declaration, racism reverberates in ‘echo chambers of hate’

Two decades after a landmark declaration was adopted to eradicate racism, discrimination continues to “permeate institutions, social structures and everyday life in every society”, the UN chief told a high-level meeting on Wednesday.

Afghanistan: ‘Palpable’ fear of ‘brutal and systemic repression’ of women grows

Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last month, they have made some commitments to uphold human rights. However, their subsequent actions have “sadly contradicted” those promises, the UN rights chief told a side event of the General Assembly on Tuesday.

UN agencies shocked by deaths near Belarus-Poland border 

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and migration agency IOM, called on Tuesday for an immediate investigation into the deaths of four people near the border between Poland and Belarus, due to causes yet to be determined.