Human Rights

First Person: Telling the tragic story of mercury poisoning in Japan

Masami Ogata is a survivor of Minamata Disease, a debilitating illness caused by industrial mercury poisoning, which originated in the Japanese town of the same name in the 1950s. As a UN conference on preventing future poisoning outbreaks gets underway, we hear Mr. Ogata’s story.

Ahead of Sudan protests, UN chief asks military to ‘show restraint’ 

With mass civil protests against this week’s military coup planned for Saturday in Sudan, the UN Secretary-General has a simple message: “I urge the military to show restraint, and not to create any more victims.” 

UN expert criticises boycott of Durban Process against racism, calls for action 

An independent UN expert on Thursday, strongly criticized countries which continue to boycott the 20-year-old Durban Declaration against racism, and called on them to recommit to combatting discrimination and intolerance, in line with the landmark conference which took place in the South African city, in 2001.

Victims of human trafficking being ‘punished and stigmatized’ 

Victims of trafficking by terrorist groups are too often being punished instead of protected, a human rights expert warned the General Assembly this Wednesday. 

Women under fire in Belarus, activists tortured and exiled – UN expert

While women in Belarus overall are being denied rights and freedoms, female political activists are subjected to enforced disappearances, torture, ill-treatment and exile, an independent UN human rights expert told the General Assembly on Tuesday.

UN experts condemn Israel’s designation of Palestine rights defenders as terrorist organisations 

Independent UN human rights experts on Monday strongly condemned the decision by the Israeli Minister of Defence to designate six Palestinian human rights and civil society groups, as terrorist organisations. 

No safe harbour: lifting the lid on a misunderstood trafficking crime

The crime of harbouring, in which victims of human trafficking are accommodated or forced to stay in a specific location, is not universally understood by courts around the world. A new UN study aims to address that issue, and improve protection for victims.

UNICEF sounds alarm over abductions of women and children in Haiti  

The number of children and women abducted in Haiti until the end of August, has already surpassed last year’s total, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEFwarned this Thursday.  

'Landmark decision’ gives legal teeth to protect environmental defenders

A 46-strong group of countries across the wider European region has agreed to establish a new legally binding mechanism that would protect environmental defenders, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) said on Friday.

Fears grow for the lives of 5 Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli prisons

Israel has been urged to either release or charge five Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. Grave concerns have been expressed for the lives of the prisoners by UN independent rights experts, who on Thursday, called on the Israeli Government to completely end the “unlawful practice “ of administrative detention.