Human Rights

Human Rights Council calls on top UN rights official to take action on racist violence

The UN’s top rights official, Michelle Bachelet, is to spearhead efforts to address systemic racism against people of African descent by law enforcement agencies, the Human Rights Council decided on Friday. The resolution – decided unanimously without a vote - follows a rare Urgent Debate in the Council earlier in the week, requested by the African group of nations, following the death of George Floyd in the US state of Minnesota.

COVID-19 intensifies ‘brutal crime’ of sexual violence in conflict 

Conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) is “a brutal crime” that is being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN chief underscored on Friday, the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Hong Kong: Draft law on national security must comply with rights obligations

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday that her office was closely following developments as China’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress, holds talks on a proposed national security law for Hong Kong.

‘I am my brother’s keeper’, Philonise Floyd tells UN rights body, in impassioned plea for racial justice

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday heard powerful testimony from the brother of George Floyd, whose death,  captured on video, while a police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes in Minneapolis, has sparked worldwide protest.

US Supreme Court ruling ‘extremely positive’ for LGBT community, says UN Rights Expert

A UN expert on Wednesday hailed an historic judgement issued by the United States Supreme Court on 15 June that firing a person on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is unlawful.

Rights experts call for global opposition to Israel’s annexation plans

Nearly 50 independent human rights experts are calling for the international community to oppose Israel’s plan to annex significant parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank beginning as early as next month.

Conviction of Filipino journalist ‘a new low’, says independent UN expert

The conviction of prominent Filipino journalist Maria Ressa has been described by an independent UN expert as “a new low in the Philippines’ protection of the freedom of expression” and “the ability of an independent media to function in the country”.

Children caught in conflict facing ‘brutality and fear while the world watches’

Boys and girls used and abused in armed conflict have had their childhoods replaced by “pain, brutality and fear while the world watches”, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, said on Monday.

Human Rights Council picks up again after COVID suspension, to hold racism debate

After a three month long COVID-19-enforced break, the Human Rights Council resumed on Monday, giving the green light to a rare Urgent Debate on racism, alleged police brutality and violence against protesters sickened by the killing of American George Floyd in police custody.

Citing ‘weight of history’, senior UN officials of African descent issue call to ‘go beyond and do more’ to end racism

A group of more than twenty senior leaders in the UN, who report directly to Secretary-General António Guterres, and who are African or of African descent, have put their names to a personal and hard-hitting statement published on Friday, expressing their outrage at pervasive and systemic racism, highlighting the need to ‘go beyond and do more’ than just offering condemnation.