UN-backed seminar on indigenous peoples aims to protect their rights

A United Nations-backed seminar on the relationship between States and indigenous peoples opened in Geneva today with a call to learn from history in a bid to elaborate new treaties to safeguard their rights.

UN marks Human Rights Day with appeals, messages and ceremonies

The United Nations system celebrated Human Rights Day around the world today, with Secretary-General Kofi Annan paying tribute to human rights defenders who “stand in the front lines of protection, casting the bright light of human rights into the darkest corners of tyranny and abuse.”

UN human rights agency appeals to donors for nearly $55 million for next year

The United Nations human rights agency today appealed for $54.8 million in contributions to fund activities in the coming year and to continue efforts to strengthen the institution.

UN human rights prize to be awarded next week

An Argentine advocate for the disappeared, a Jordanian taboo-lifting family protection team, the handicapped son of a former Chinese leader turned disability defender, a human rights educator in the United States and a West African women’s peace-building network are the winners of this year’s United Nations human rights awards.

World leaders should put children at centre of development agendas - UNICEF

World leaders must put children at the heart of their development agendas if countries are to achieve all their development goals, the head of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said today.

Security legislation can perpetuate emergencies, UN human rights envoy says

Security legislation and other departures from the normal legal regime are perpetuating emergencies by isolating those people best placed to end the emergencies, the United Nations envoy charged with protecting human rights defenders said today.

UN human rights commissioner urges Arab delegates to promote rights accords

The ranking United Nations human rights advocate today urged Arab leaders to pursue ratifications of UN human rights treaties, strengthen national rights protection systems and work toward ratification of an accord banning discrimination against women.

UN conference calls for pressure to force Israel to bring down separation wall

Civil society organizations have committed themselves to pressure their governments to condemn Israel's "separation wall" in the occupied West Bank as part of its pattern of illegal settlement activity, according to a plan of action adopted by the United Nations International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People.

UN human rights body approves guidelines for multinational corporations

In an important step forward in developing human rights standards for corporations, an expert subsidiary panel of the top United Nations rights body today approved a set of ethics guidelines bringing together a range of legal obligations for companies drawn from existing human rights, labour and environmental standards.

After gay rights event, Annan calls for tolerance, laments bias 'on any grounds'

While deploring any kind of prejudice and discrimination and speaking out for people's right to make their own choices, Secretary-General Kofi Annan feels the United Nations should not involve itself in the dispute over the issues of same sex marriage, a spokesman for Mr. Annan said today.