Human Rights

Papua New Guinea on ‘slippery path’ to undermining rule of law, warns UN official

A top United Nations official today voiced concern about recent steps taken by the Government in Papua New Guinea that undermine the rule of law, breach international human rights standards, impinge on the independence of the judiciary, and could lead to serious instability.

Brazil: UN welcomes prosecution of retired colonel for abuses during military rule

The United Nations human rights office today welcomed the prosecution of a retired Brazilian army colonel for disappearances during the country’s military dictatorship as a “first and crucial step” in fighting the impunity that surrounds that period.

China: UN human rights office voices concern over jail term for lawyer

The United Nations human rights office expressed concern today at reports that a Chinese court has replaced the period of probation given to a human rights lawyer with a three-year prison sentence, saying the move is indicative of a trend of secret detentions in the Asian nation.

Thai laws on insulting royals having chilling effect on freedom of expression – UN

The United Nations human rights office today called on Thai authorities to reform laws that jail people convicted of insulting senior members of the country’s royal family, saying they were having a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

UN rights chief hails Brazil’s truth commission as vital in tackling past abuses

The United Nations human rights chief today hailed the creation of Brazil’s truth commission as an important first step towards promoting healing and investigating the violations that took place during the political repression of 1946 to 1988.

UN human rights chief urges immediate action on Syria as death toll passes 3,000

The UN human rights chief today urged the international community to act immediately to protect lives in Syria, where the number of people killed since violence erupted in March has topped 3,000, including over 180 children.

Thailand should amend defamation laws to comply with freedom of speech – UN expert

A United Nations human rights expert today called on Thailand to amend laws that impose jail terms of three to 15 years on “whoever defames, insults or threatens” top members of the country’s royal family, stressing that their vagueness contravened international treaties.

UN rights expert urges Algerian Government to probe killing of political activist

The independent United Nations expert on the right to freedom of opinion and expression today called on the Algerian Government to investigate the killing of a political activist he had met on a recent official visit to the North African nation and to bring those responsible to justice.

Right to freedom of expression vital as Algeria embarks on reforms – UN expert

An independent United Nations human rights expert today called on Algeria to guarantee the right to freedom of opinion and expression as part of its ongoing political reforms, noting that journalists still face a number of challenges in carrying out their work.

UN independent expert urges Austria to promote cultural diversity and rights

The United Nations independent expert on cultural rights today encouraged the Austrian Government to consider cultural diversity an invaluable resource and to take concrete measures to promote it by recognizing the ways of life of minority groups.