Thank You, UN, for Protecting Victims of Slavery and Other Cruel Practices

While slavery and inhumane practices have still not been eradicated, the United Nations has done much to expose them and to help stamp them out. Its efforts continue. Early after its establishment, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights carried out a study on slavery. Its findings were riveting, and it made several policy recommendations to … Read more

$5 Million Grant From Microsoft Will Help UN Track Human-Rights Abuses

As political instability, conflicts and migration proliferate across the world, technology has become a potential solution for identifying and predicting human-rights violations, which play a major role instigating upheavals. Smartphones enable instant updates and eyewitness accounts of events happening around the globe, and the use of cloud computing and big-data analysis allows large amounts of … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Keeping LGBT Rights Active on the UN Agenda

Several major breakthroughs in the promotion of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people have occurred through United Nations mechanisms. From the worldwide multimedia Free & Equal campaign to LGBT-related resolutions and reports in the Human Rights Council to the public support of such figures as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

For the UN Human Rights Office, a Major Restructuring Worldwide

The United Nations human-rights machinery is making its most radical overhaul since the creation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights more than two decades ago. A recent announcement by Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein of Jordan, the High Commissioner, indicates that the Office will have a vastly increased field presence, a larger and … Read more

 

UN Aviation Agency Plays a Limited Role in Malaysia Crash Inquiry

An international mission of forensic experts and unarmed police led by the Netherlands, with Australian and Malaysian participation, has temporarily suspended its investigation and recovery work at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. The mission, which lasted just five days until it stopped on Aug. 6 because of the volatile … Read more

New Protocols and Policies Tackle Sexual Violence in War

As Sunni Muslim extremists first seized strategic cities in Iraq last week, and a United Nations spokesman for the human-rights high commissioner, Navi Pillay, said that rapes had been part of the mayhem, leaving four female victims dead from suicide, the first global conference to end such heinous crimes took place in London. There, foreign … Read more

GOINGS-ON

Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein of Jordan Nominated for Top Human-Rights Job

The United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has told the UN General Assembly that he intends to appoint Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan as the next UN high commissioner for human rights, replacing Navi Pillay, whose term, her second in the post, ends Aug. 31. The General Assembly must approve the nomination with a … Read more

Ramos-Horta, UN Envoy in Guinea-Bissau, Is Leaving the Position

Jose Ramos-Horta

José Ramos-Horta, the United Nations special envoy for Guinea-Bissau in West Africa since January 2013 and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, is leaving his post, he confirmed. Ramos-Horta, 64, will become chairman and chief executive of UBrainTV, an Internet news service based in Tokyo. He has been an adviser to UBrainTV for more than a … Read more

 

UN Peacekeepers Heading to the Central African Republic by the Fall

The United Nations Security Council has authorized yet another peacekeeping force for an African country, the Central African Republic, approving up to 12,000 military and police personnel who are not likely to arrive until mid-September. The goal of the force is broad, given the nation’s crippled affairs: restore law and order, protect civilians, provide humanitarian … Read more

Mexico Rising: Advances in Women’s Health and Rights

International Women's Day in Mexico City

  When the latest list of 20 top donors to UN Women appeared last year, there was only one country outside the richer nations of the world among them: Mexico. The Mexican commitment to the women’s agency reflects the strides that the country has made in promoting women’s rights in recent years, powered by government … Read more

Nigeria Attracts Latest Criticism for Anti-Gay Laws

Goodluck Jonathan, president of Nigeria

In an open letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Michel Sidibé, the executive director of UNAIDS, the organization called AIDS-Free World wants answers to questions about how the UN will deal with Nigeria after the adoption of a sweeping law broadening the criminalization of  homosexuality. Nigeria has the second-largest number of people globally … Read more

Indian Ban on Gay Sex Draws UN Human Rights Rebuke

Gay pride parade, Bangalore

An unexpected Indian Supreme Court ruling on Dec. 11 upholding a law that criminalizes same-sex relationships drew a swift rebuke within 24 hours from Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who called it a violation of international rights. The Indian court decision came barely a day after international Human Rights Day. … Read more

 

Japan’s Take on Peace, Human Rights and the UN

Tsuneo Nishida, Japanese ambassador to the UN

Tsuneo Nishida, the Japanese ambassador to the United Nations, spoke recently on his country’s positions on peace and security, disarmament, human rights and UN reform. Japan, which is the world’s third-largest economy and second-biggest contributor (after the United States) to the UN’s general budget, is planning to run for an elected seat on the Security … Read more

BOOKS

The Human Rights Council Gets More Respect

Migrants locked up in a camp in Libya.

The visibility of human-rights violations by the Syrian government amid the current turmoil owes much to the United Nations, particularly to its Independent International Commission of Inquiry, led by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, a Brazilian lawyer, public official and professor.  Such commissions are part of a growing number of tools used by the UN to promote … Read more

Human Rights Chief Calls for More Action in Syria

As violence continues unabated in Syria despite tough economic and travel sanctions from such big players as the Arab League, the European Union, Turkey and the United States, the head of the UN’s high commissioner for human rights has spoken out by calling for international intervention to protect civilians against government attacks. Navi Pillay, the … Read more

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