Human Rights

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.

‘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.

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.