Human Rights – UN News Centre

A world of news from the world organization

‘We want justice for these girls’: the Kenyan helpline for victims of gender violence

Around four million girls worldwide suffer female genital mutilation every year. Although it is forbidden in Kenya, COVID-19 has led some families to revive itthe traditional practice, and a UN-supported phone helpline for victims of gender-based violence in the country has seen a big rise in calls since the pandemic hit.

Syria: Humanitarians ‘very concerned’ for thousands still living in Al Hol camp

Humanitarians are “very concerned” about the plight of more than 64,000 people living in the restive Al Hol camp in northeast Syria, the UN Spokesperson told journalists on Friday.   

Misuse of terrorism laws during conflict creates ‘unmitigated calamity’

The misuse of terrorism laws during conflict situations often leads to an “unmitigated calamity” on the ground, an independent UN expert has warned. 

Rights experts urge UAE to halt repatriation of Yemeni nationals 

The repatriation of 18 Yemeni nationals previously held at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, should be halted, as their lives could be in danger, UN-appointed human rights experts said on Thursday. 

Invest in rural women, help them build resilience to future crises, urges UN chief

Rural women play a critical role in agriculture, food security and managing land and natural resources - yet many suffer from "discrimination, systemic racism, and structural poverty", the UN chief said on Thursday. 

Rape is wrong but death penalty, castration, not the answer: UN rights chief

While perpetrators of rape and other forms of sexual violence must be held accountable, capital punishment and torture are not the answer, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday. 

New report highlights value of UN’s human rights work in the field

The UN’s work in promoting dialogue between Arabic and Kurdish groups in Iraq is just one example of how human rights personnel are playing a critical role at the Organization’s peace operations around the world. 

Greater equality a ‘prerequisite’ for overcoming global crises: Bachelet 

In reviewing, assessing and acknowledging the effects of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, enslavement and colonialism, the groundbreaking Durban World Conference of 2001, represented a “milestone” in the common fight against racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, the UN human rights chief said on Monday. 

New agreement in Iraq signals ‘a first and important step’ toward a better future

An agreement between Iraq’s Federal and the Kurdish Regional governments on Friday paves the way for reconstruction in the north of the country, in what the UN has called “a first and important step in the right direction”. 

International Day of the Girl: ‘Be bold in your demands’, urges UN deputy chief 

As the COVID-19 pandemic increases gender, economic and racial inequalities, the UN on Friday marked the upcoming International Day of the Girl, with a youth-driven virtual townhall to demand a more just and equitable world for girls.

Nagorno-Karabakh: UN rights chief calls for urgent ceasefire as hostilities mount

Amid escalating hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights appealed on Friday for an urgent ceasefire and for greater protection to be given to those caught up in the violence. 

Stillbirths: An unnecessary, unspeakable tragedy – UN report

A stillborn baby is delivered every 16 seconds, which translates into nearly two million infants over the course of a year that never took their first breath, according to a new UN report published on Thursday. 

Guinea: Steer clear of campaign hate speech, top UN officials warn

Given the history of intercommunal violence in Guinea, two high-level UN Officials voiced concern on Tuesday over the risk of “incitement to hostility, discrimination or violence” as the country gears up for elections on 18 October.

Starvation used as weapon of war in South Sudan conflict, UN rights body finds

Starvation is being intentionally used as a war tactic in South Sudan’s brutal conflict, a UN-backed human rights panel said on Tuesday, releasing its latest report on the country. 

More action needed for seafarers, ‘collateral victims’ of measures to curb COVID-19

Highlighting an “unparalleled crisis” affecting hundreds of thousands of crew members and maritime workers reeling due to the impact of COVID-19, the UN has called on the business sector and others involved in the shipping industry to do more to address the plight of seafarers worlwide. 

UN rights chief urges Iran to release jailed human rights defenders, citing COVID-19 risk

The top UN rights official has called on Iran to release imprisoned human rights defenders, lawyers and political prisoners, citing deep concerns over their situation and heightened risk of contracting COVID-19. 

Put peace in Libya first, UN chief urges summit on war-shattered nation 

A “rare opportunity” for peace in Libya should be seized by all those involved directly or indirectly in the conflict, António Guterres said on Monday, at a High-Level virtual meeting convened to end the fighting. 

Mediterranean Sea: ‘Cycle of violence’ for fleeing migrants must be addressed

The UN human rights office OHCHR, called on Friday for urgent action to address the “unimaginable horrors” faced by migrants attempting to cross the central Mediterranean Sea in search of safety in Europe.

Iraq urged to investigate attacks on women human rights defenders

UN-appointed independent rights experts have urged the Iraqi authorities to investigate the murder of a female human rights defender, and the attempted killing of another, targeted “simply because they are women”.

Stranded migrants need safe and dignified return, says independent UN rights panel

Governments should immediately address the inhumane conditions in detention faced by migrant workers who are also being blamed for spreading the coronavirus, a UN panel of independent rights experts said on Thursday.

Listen to older people’s ‘suggestions and ideas’ for more inclusive societies, urges UN chief

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is reckoning with the disproportionate and severe impact that the virus has wrought on the “health…rights and well being” of older persons, the UN chief has said, marking the international day highlighting their issues.

Redouble efforts against ‘global scourge’ of gender-based violence, intensified by pandemic: Guterres 

From domestic violence to sexual abuse, online harassment and increased child marriage, gender-based violence (GBV) is “a global scourge” that is being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN chief said on Tuesday. 

Most countries failing to protect women from COVID-19 economic and social fallout

The COVID-19 pandemic is “hitting women hard”, but most nations are failing to provide sufficient social and economic protection for them, the head of the UN gender empowerment agency said on Monday.

‘Eyes and ears’ of UN Human Rights Council facing funding crisis

The work of UN-appointed independent rights experts is at risk from a critical lack of funding, they warned on Monday.

Rights experts denounce death sentence against Nigerian singer who posted on WhatsApp

Independent UN human rights experts have called on the Government of Nigeria to immediately release a singer sentenced to death over an allegedly blasphemous song he performed and shared on social media. 

India: UN expert raises alarm over mass evictions of Delhi railway track dwellers

An independent UN human rights expert has voiced concern over an Indian Supreme Court order to evict up to 250,000 people living in shacks along railway tracks in the capital, Delhi, warning that such a move could violate the country’s obligations under key international rights treaties. 

Yemen’s warring parties agree to free more than 1,000 prisoners 

At the end of a week-long meeting in Switzerland, the parties to the conflict in Yemen reached what the UN envoy there called “a very important milestone”, in agreeing to release a first group of detainees.

Inclusion and more public participation, will help forge better government policies: Guterres

Not only COVID-19, but climate protests, struggles for more inclusive politics, human rights and waning public trust, have put a magnifying glass to the social and economic injustices plaguing societies, the UN Secretary-General said on Friday. 

Belarus must release opposition leader Maria Kalesnikava, stress independent rights experts

A group of UN independent human rights experts have called on Belarus to release prominent opposition leader Maria Kalesnikava, voicing serious concern over targeting and persecution of opposition politicians by the State. 

Impact on workers of COVID-19 is ‘catastrophic’: ILO 

COVID-19 has had a “catastrophic” impact on workers, the head of the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday, with lost working hours higher than originally forecast, and equivalent to 495 million full-time jobs globally in the second quarter of the year.