How we make a difference 2021
Recovering better with human rights and solidarity
“Foundations can play a key role in the worldwide effort to recover better” from the pandemic, the High Commissioner stressed in her keynote statement to the 20th SwissFoundations Symposium, considered the largest philanthropy event in Switzerland. She emphasized the need to scale up cross-sector alliances, including those between the UN and the philanthropic community.
HC: Root causes must be addressed in violence escalation in Gaza
“Appalling events in Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territory have once again called this Council into Special Session,” the High Commissioner said, noting the “most significant escalation in hostilities” since 2014. “While I welcome the ceasefire of 21 May, it is clear that unless the root causes of this violence are addressed, it will sadly be a matter of time until the next round of violence commences, with further pain and suffering for civilians on all sides,” she stressed.
Report: A call to safeguard migrants in central Mediterranean Sea
“I feel as if I have gone from hell to uncertainty. I thought my journey would come to an end and I would find a safe place in Europe,” said Daraja, a Nigerian migrant. A new report by UN Human Rights delivers first-hand accounts of migrants facing the perilous journey through Libya to Europe. It also calls for an urgent reform of search and rescue policies and practices and more robust protection of migrants at sea.
“Our work is fundamental"
For Marvin Del Cid and Sonny Figueroa being a journalist in Guatemala has been an exercise in creativity, strength and persistence. The two, who are part of Article 35 – an association dedicated to protecting journalists, have been subjected to harassment both on and off line including slander, unlawful detention and death threats. “The information we public becomes a public good,” said Del Cid. “Our work is fundamental.”
Advancing justice and rights for children in crisis and conflict
For many children globally, conflicts and crises are all they have ever known, the High Commissioner said at the launch of a report on children in conflict. The report by Save the Children and the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University show where protection and accountability gaps lie and “which steps we can take toward justice for children,” she said.
Bachelet calls for equality in the access to vaccines and health services
At the WHO Global Forum, the High Commissioner discussed how research can contribute to a healthier world for vulnerable populations, in the context of COVID-19. She focused on two areas: equality of access to health services, goods and facilities, including vaccines; and the need for disaggregated data to tailor appropriate and specific policies, during the pandemic and beyond
Experts: Urgent Action can help save lives
“The three days that my enforced disappearance lasted were eternal for me and my family,” Reyna Patricia Ambros Zapatero, a survivor of a kidnapping told the Committee on Enforced Disappearances. “Unfortunately...[around the world] there are thousands of disappeared people who have not been as lucky as me. I admire the constant struggle of their families and friends who search for them every day.”
Young people need their sexual and reproductive health and rights
Poppy Stanbury, Advocacy Coordinator at CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, says that young people should be empowered to participate meaningfully in the decision-making processes that affect all aspects of their lives, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
“We won’t give up or stop reporting until we have a real democracy”
“They’re doing everything they can to stop information flowing to the Myanmar people and the rest of the world,” says Thar Lun Zaung Htet, a journalist who has fled his country in fear for his life. On World Press Freedom Day, Thar Lun, and thousands of other journalists around the globe, continue to face grave danger.
"The silencing of a journalist is a loss to society as a whole."
Attacks on journalists "impoverish public debate and hamper our ability to respond effectively to societal challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic," High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said in a statement marking World Press Freedom Day. In order to "fully celebrate the bravery of journalists in their determination to keep the public informed, we must demand that their rights are respected, protected and fulfilled."
Mongolia: New law to protect human rights defenders
Mongolia has recently adopted a new law for human rights defenders, the first of its kind in Asia. Paving the way for other countries in the region, the milestone law aims to protect and encourage their critical voices and actions.
COVID-19 and longstanding gender and racial discrimination in the Americas
“Exclusionary policies, rather than inclusive ones, have been tolerated in the region for generations,” the High Commissioner told Oxford University students during a lecture on discrimination in the Americas. Focusing on gender and racial discrimination, she stressed that the brunt of both the health and the socio-economic crises brought by COVID-19 “is being borne by those who have not reaped the development benefits experienced by many countries in the region.”
Fact sheet unpacks and links human rights and climate change
A new fact sheet sets out how the harms caused by climate change translate to human rights violations. Frequently asked questions on human rights and climate change also provides guidance for States on how to address the climate crisis while respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights.
Experts: Drug policy needs a human rights-based approach
A new report advocates a more people-centred approach when creating drug policy. The report, Drug Decriminalisation: Progress or Political Red Herring, was the focus of a recent event organized at the margin of the last session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
The Dalit: Born into a life of discrimination and stigma
For centuries, the Dalit minority in South Asia have faced discrimination, marginalisation, stigma and violence. Beena Pallical is the General Secretary of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights in India. She dedicates her life’s work to fighting for Dalit rights.
High Commissioner: "Social Protection is a fundamental human right"
"Taking immediate steps to build a better, more comprehensive social protection system is crucial to providing immediate, life-changing assistance," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. She made her statement as part of Hernan Santa Cruz Dialogue on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, taking place in Ukraine.
Guidance establishes children’s rights carry into digital world
The Child Rights Committee published new legal guidance on how governments should protect children’s rights in the digital environment. General Comment 25 on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment says States have a clear responsibility to provide oversight on how children fare in the digital world.
"Systemic racism needs a systemic response", says Bachelet on meeting about police violence
The High Commissioner updated the Council on her report on systemic racism by law enforcement agencies, which was mandated after the killing of George Floyd. "Despite the heightened visibility around this issue, incidents of police brutality and racial discrimination against people of African descent continue to occur. It is imperative to end police violence," she said.
Peace One Day Anti-Racism Live Digital Experience
Tune in on 21 March, International Day for the Elimination of Racial discrimination, for the Anti-Racism Live Global Digital Experience from 1.35 p.m. to 10.02 p.m. GMT, presented by our partner Peace One Day.
Youth are standing up against racism
On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 March) we celebrate the young human rights defenders who, through their global engagement for equality and inclusion, build solidarity, lead change and stand up against racism.
The water crisis has a “major impact on human rights” expert says
In his latest report to the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David R. Boyd, describes safe and sufficient water as one of the substantive components of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
International Women's Day: "It's about time we changed course."
In her address to the Human Rights Council on the occasion of International Women's Day, the High Commissioner said that "the responsibility of our lifetimes is upon us: to create more equitable, inclusive, just, and sustainable post-pandemic societies."
International Women’s Day: Women leaders driving change in a post-COVID-19 world
For more than a year now, women leaders across all ages and walks of life have been instrumental in the response to COVID-19. Ahead of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating their achievements, their inspiring battles for the human rights of women and girls, and sharing their demands for a better post COVID-19 world. Join us.
We must “revitalise our forces for racial equality and justice,” says COVID-19 panel
While commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, panellists at the Human Rights Council urge Governments and the UN to step up efforts to address the structural racism and racial discrimination revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic that disproportionally affect racial and ethnic minorities.
Bachelet updates Human Rights Council on recent human rights issues in more than 50 countries
Focusing on the urgent need to expand people's participation in decisions-making, the High Commissioner deplored that “in every region of the world, people are being left behind – or pushed even further behind – as the coronavirus pandemic gathers pace". "This makes us all weaker," she observed, calling for Council members to "speak out against measures that silence civil society”
Keeping women and girls in Kenya safe during COVID-19
Beatrice Karore, a community mobiliser who helps survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in Kenya, says that violence against women has increased during COVID-19 and uncovered unprecedented mental health needs.
Tackling COVID-19 in Nigeria from a safety education angle
The safety education tools that Ugochi Obidiegwu, Managing partner at The Safety Chic, develops for children and adults have been helping teachers and pupils in Nigeria resume school with minimised danger during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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