Human Rights – UN News Centre

A world of news from the world organization

Independent rights experts call on India to remedy ‘alarming’ situation in Jammu and Kashmir

UN-appointed independent human rights experts have called for urgent action in India’s Jammu and Kashmir, amid concerns of ongoing abuses against civilians there.

Leaving No Roma behind during a pandemic, and beyond: a UN Resident Coordinator’s Blog

Roma people in Europe face widespread discrimination in many areas of life, including housing and health. In this opinion piece, Francoise Jacob, the UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia, explains how the UN is helping Roma communities, many of which have no access to safe water or electricity, to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Day against Human Trafficking spotlights essential role of first responders

The UN commemorated World Day against Human Trafficking on Thursday spotlighting the essential – but often overlooked - role of first responders who identify the millions of victims worldwide, helping them secure justice, and rebuild their lives.

How do you define lawful peaceful protest? The UN Human Rights Committee has a clear answer

People have the right to demonstrate peacefully and Governments should respect international law and let them do so, senior UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Wednesday.

Forced labour, prostitution and child marriages: rescuing victims of trafficking in Malawi

Human trafficking is a problem in Malawi, with teenage boys forced to work as farm labourers, and young women to sexual exploitation in nightclubs or bars. The UN is supporting the Malawian governments to end the practice and protect vulnerable people.

Human rights report details ‘heartbreaking’ accounts of women detained in DPRK

Women forcibly returned to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are subjected to torture, ill treatment, sexual abuse, and other violations, according to a report published on Tuesday by the UN Human Rights office.

Children in Nigeria and surrounding countries, continuing to endure ‘horrendous violations’

Girls and boys in northeast Nigeria are continuing to endure brutal abuse at the hands of Boko Haram, and are also being deeply affected by military operations taking place to counter the terrorist group, despite noteworthy efforts, according the UN chief’s latest report on children and armed conflict.

Human rights office decries disproportionate use of force in US protests

People taking part in peaceful demonstrations across the United States, and journalists covering these protests, should not be subjected to disproportionate use of force or other violations, the UN human rights office said on Friday.

Zimbabwe: COVID-19 must not be used to stifle freedoms, says UN rights office

The coronavirus pandemic should not be used as an excuse to clamp down on fundamental freedoms, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) reminded authorities in Zimbabwe on Friday.

Rights experts urge Nigeria to free humanist detained for blasphemy

Nigerian authorities must immediately release prominent humanist and rights defender Mubarak Bala, who has been detained for more than two months without charge on accusations of blasphemy, a group of independent UN human rights experts said on Friday.

Protect people ‘fleeing war, violence’, UN refugee agency urges Poland 

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Friday encouraged Poland to fall in line with its international obligations, and allow asylum seekers access. 

Security Council stalemate frustrates families of Syria’s missing detainees

Families of the more than 130,000 people believed to be detained and forcibly disappeared in Syria, are deeply frustrated by the Security Council’s failure to unite and make progress on the issue, the 15-member organ was told on Thursday.

Iran urged to release rights activist with COVID-19 symptoms ‘before it is too late’

A group of independent UN human rights experts has called for Iran to urgently release an activist who reportedly is ill with COVID-19 symptoms “before it is too late”.

Rights experts call on Tanzania to end ‘crackdown’ on civic space

Tanzania should allow peaceful gatherings to take place ahead of elections in October and step back from “draconian” laws, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Wednesday.

Ethiopia urged to allow peaceful demonstrations, investigate protestor deaths

Independent UN human rights experts are urging the Ethiopian authorities to allow peaceful demonstrations, in a new appeal for investigations into the deaths of people protesting the recent killing of a popular singer and activist from the Oromo ethnic group.

New social contract needed to combat ‘inequality pandemic’: Guterres

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to rage around the world, the UN chief urged everyone on Monday to take up a new social contract to combat the “inequality pandemic”, at a UN event marking the weekend’s observance of Nelson Mandela Day.  

‘My children ask me when am I coming home’: stranded seafarers share their frustrations

Hundreds of thousands of seafarers are finding themselves stranded at sea, sometimes for over a year, and with no end in sight, as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions. The uncertainty and long spells away from home are taking a heavy mental toll.

‘Inequality defines our time’: UN chief delivers hard-hitting Mandela day message

Inequality, an issue which “defines our time”, risks destroying the world’s economies and societies, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a hard-hitting speech on Saturday.

Wartime sexual violence a ‘psychological weapon’, sets back cause of peace

Sexual violence is used as a war tactic and a political tool to dehumanize, destabilize and forcibly displace populations across the globe, the UN’s expert on the issue told the Security Council on Friday, pressing countries to adopt a survivor-centred approach that ensures victims will not be forgotten.

UN independent expert welcomes UK court decision to allow Shamima Begum to fight for citizenship 

Radicalized on British soil as a London schoolgirl, an independent UN expert welcomed a Court of Appeal ruling in the United Kingdom on Thursday, to allow 20-year-old Shamima Begum to return home from Syria to challenge the Government’s removal of her citizenship.

Rise in women prisoners and COVID measures, ‘making sentences worse’

More than 700,000 women are in prison around the world, and that number is growing much faster than men, the Human Rights Council has heard.

Nuclear testing legacy is ‘cruellest’ environmental injustice, warns rights expert

The dangerous legacy of nuclear weapons testing continues to affect many communities, a leading rights expert said on Thursday, on the 75th anniversary of testing in the United States, that heralded the nuclear age.

Independent rights expert says emerging technologies entrenching racism, discrimination

An independent UN human rights expert is calling for greater scrutiny of emerging digital technologies which she said are being used to uphold racial inequality, discrimination and intolerance.

Venezuela: UN report highlights criminal control of mining area, and wider justice concerns

The Human Rights Council on Wednesday heard reports of serious exploitation and abuse of children and indigenous communities in Venezuela, where mining for gold and other minerals is booming.

Colombia: Killing of rights defenders, social leaders, ex-fighters, most serious threat to peace

The killing of former combatants, human rights defenders and social leaders of communities devastated by decades of conflict, remains the most serious threat to peace in Colombia since the signing of a landmark peace agreement in 2016, the top UN official in the country told the Security Council on Tuesday, meeting in-person at UN Headquarters in New York, for the first time in four months.

Women and girls deserve more protection in emergencies, UN rights council hears

The collective impact of climate change, COVID-19 and conflict mean that well over 200 million people will likely need humanitarian assistance by 2022, the UN’s deputy rights chief said on Monday.

COVID-19 lockdown in Myanmar exposes precarious position of LGBTQI population

In Myanmar, the COVID-19 lockdown has laid bare the stigmatization, discrimination and harassment faced by many LGBTQI people, particularly in rural areas. The United Nations is working to support those people.

UN chief underscores need for reconciliation 25 years after Srebrenica genocide

Twenty-five years after the Srebrenica genocide, peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina remains fragile, underscoring the need for true reconciliation in the region, the UN Secretary-General said on Thursday in a video message marking the anniversary of the worst atrocity crime in Europe, since the Second World War.

All drone strikes ‘in self-defence’ should go before Security Council, argues independent rights expert

The growing use of weaponised drones risks destabilising global peace and security and creating a “drone power club” among nations, that face no effective accountability for deploying them as part of their “war on terror”, a senior UN-appointed independent rights expert said on Thursday.

UN expert calls for end to gender-based violence against women journalists

Women journalists face particular dangers while going about their work, an independent UN expert told the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday, saying that Governments should do more to protect them.