On February 17, a Commission of Inquiry established by the UN Human Rights Council—the United Nations’ top intergovernmental human rights body—released a devastating report on the human rights situation in North Korea. The nearly 400-page document enumerates a shocking litany of human rights abuses by the regime.
In early February, UNA-USA members and UN supporters from around the world joined together at the General Assembly Hall for UNA-USA's Members’ Day. They discussed some of the major challenges currently facing the United Nations.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is widely regarded as the keystone international framework for protecting the human rights of an estimated one billion persons with disabilities around the world. While many have called for the U.S. Senate to ratify the convention based on its straightforward human rights stipulations, a powerful complementary narrative has materialized that links the treaty with boosting technological innovation, enhancing global market competition and expanding space for job growth.
In the days since the U.S. federal government shutdown, we’ve begun to learn just how far the ramifications have stretched beyond Washington D.C. Among its global impacts, the shutdown breached the gates of the Palais Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland. There, the U.S. was expecting to undergo its quadrennial review under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a UN human rights treaty that the U.S. ratified in 1992. However, on October 10, the U.S. State Department, citing the shutdown, formally requested a postponement of the review.
As violence has flared yet again in the eastern Congo and the world’s attention is focusing on atrocities in Syria, discussions at the United Nations on how to better protect civilians in conflict have gained renewed urgency.
“Free & Equal,” a new global campaign that the Officer of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) launched in July, is the beginning of a yearlong advocacy push to raise awareness for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world. During this campaign, OHCHR will work to reshape the educational and legal landscapes surrounding the issue of gay rights. According to its 2011 report on LGBT discrimination, existing laws in 76 countries outlaw same-sex sexual relationships. The report also documents global cases of violence against the LGBT community, from beatings and torture to rape and murder.
Killian Kleinschmidt has seen a lot of refugee crises, but nowhere have refugees been as tricky to handle as here. “I have to be more bossy here than anywhere else in the world,” he says from his office, which is a caravan in the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) compound of Zaatari camp.
In early July, Amnesty International and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) convened the “Human Rights Council Elections: A Discussion of Candidates’ Aspirations and Vision of Membership.” Taking place in a recently renovated room at United Nations’ headquarters, this second-annual event allowed member states to elaborate upon their respective campaigns for seats on the Human Rights Council—the UN’s highest human rights body.
Human trafficking, also called modern-day slavery, is a $32 billion-a-year international business with an estimated 21 million victims. At any given time, millions of women, children and men are sold worldwide to serve as sex slaves, forced laborers or child soldiers. Many are also killed for their organs. That is why the United Nations has been focusing heavily on addressing these rampant human rights violations.