• With human rights under attack, UN chief unveils blueprint for positive change

    People’s basic human rights – their birth-right – are “under assault”, UN Secretary-General António Guterressaid on Monday, as he launched a Call to Actionaimed at boosting equality and reducing suffering everywhere. 

  • 12th Film Festival “Human Dignity, Equality, Justice” Ended in Minsk

    On December 10, 2019 the Pioner cinema hosted the closing ceremony of the Human Dignity, Equality, Justice Film Festival conducted in Minsk for the 12th consecutive year. The festival is an annual event organized by the United Nations in Belarus in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus.

  • Human Dignity, Equality, Justice Film Festival to Open in Minsk on December 1

    From December 1 to 10, the 12th annual festival Human Dignity, Equality, Justice will take place in Minsk under the aegis of the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus and the United Nations Organization in Belarus.

  • Issues of Countering Hate Speech Discussed in Minsk

    The participants of the round table “Confronting Hate Speech: International and National Experience, Problems, and Way Forward” that took place on 22 October in Minsk focused on the issues of hate speech, self-regulation of mass media, legal responses to incitement to hatred, and education and training as means to counteract hate speech.

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    Over fifty representatives of ministries, international organizations, embassies, civil society, communities of journalists and also, human rights defenders, representatives of vulnerable groups of population, and journalists took part in the event organized by the UN Office in the Republic of Belarus as part of the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech implementation.

    As UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki said in her speech, the aim of the round table was to maintain the dialogue of all the interested organizations on fight against hate speech, to discuss the role of civil and journalist communities in responding to hate speech and, at the same time, to provide favourable environment for realization of the right to freedom of speech.

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    “Enmity and hatred have many faces and they can be found everywhere in the world. Dangerous and hateful propaganda and cyberbulling, which is an emerging problem, and also fake news, which create an imaginary enemy, can incite the worst of crimes,” said Ms. Kazana-Wisniowiecki and further she stressed the specific role of educational establishments in prevention of cyberbulling and verbal abuse on the Internet.

    Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Andrei Dapkiunas emphasized that Belarus shares the concern of the international community regarding spread of verbal enmity. “We see that this tendency gathers momentum along with the growth of economic and social problems and expansion of instability zones in the world,” said Deputy Minister and reminded that in Belarus the necessary measures have been introduced in terms of legislation to prosecute crimes related to intolerance and discrimination.

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     “European Union is ready to support Belarus and the whole Eastern Partnership region in confronting hate speech while guaranteeing respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms,” said head of Political, Press, and Information Section of the Delegation of the EU to Belarus Evelina Schulz stating that in Europe there is no place for hatred and the freedom of expression is one of the major requirements for the progress of the society and every person.

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    The theme of the importance of self-regulation of the mass media as a tool of fight against hate speech was highlighted by Joanna Szymańska, representative of Article 19, and Andrei Bastunets, representative of the Belarusian Association of Journalists. The results of the media monitoring were represented by Oleg Rozhkov, representative of the Journalists for Tolerance initiative.

    Discriminatory practices against vulnerable groups through the example of using hate speech against the disabled people were addressed by the representative of the Office for the Rights of People with Disabilities Ksenia Tarasevich, and the theme of hate speech against Roma was covered by the representative of Romaintegration Natalia Kutuzova.

    The participants of the round table listened with keen interest to the speech of the representative of the National Institute of Education about the efforts of the education system to establish the culture of peacefulness, tolerance, and hate speech prevention in Belarusian educational establishments.

    Head of the Centre for Study of Globalization, Integration, and Sociocultural Cooperation of the Institute of Philosophy of the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences Natalia Kutuzova in her speech emphasized the importance of joining the efforts of the Government, civil society and mass media to fight against hate speech.

    Summarizing the talk the participants of the round table agreed that fight against hate speech will contribute to the prevention of armed conflicts, violence against women, and other human rights violations.

    This fight is the responsibility of all – world governments, civil society, mass media, every woman and man. It is necessary to stand with the victims of hate speech and encourage measures to ensure their rights and access to justice.

    It is also necessary to use education as a tool of fight against hate speech and hate speech prevention using all forms of education to foster the spirit of global civic consciousness and tolerance.

  • Governments and Internet companies fail to meet challenges of online hate

    In a landmark report that reinforces legal standards to combat online hate, the UN’s monitor for freedom of expression calls on governments and companies to move away from standardless policies and inconsistent enforcement and to align their laws and practices against ‘hate speech’ with international human rights law.

  • Major changes to suicide prevention needed, with rights-based approach to make life “more liveable” — UN expert

    Suicide prevention should not be addressed by increased prescription of medication, says UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health Dainius Pūras.

  • Widespread violence and mistreatment of women in childbirth are human rights violations that must end, says UN expert

    Mistreatment and violence against women during childbirth are widespread and systematic human rights violations that continue to blight the lives of women across the globe and must be stopped, says UN rights expert Dubravka Šimonović.

  • Stand up now for Older Persons' Rights

    The UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, calls on everyone to stand up for older persons' rights on the occasion of the global UN Day of older persons. She issues the following statement:

  • States should recognise deaf people as members of linguistic minorities and ensure the full enjoyment of their human rights, says UN expert

    In a statement to mark the International Day of Sign Languages, UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Fernand de Varennes,* highlights that sign languages are fully-fledged languages, and that their users have the same human rights and freedoms as members of other linguistic minorities:

  • Five UN human rights treaty bodies issue a joint statement on human rights and climate change

    The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (together ‘the Committees’) welcome the convening of the Climate Action Summit by the UN Secretary General in September 2019, to mobilize plans and actions to enhance the ambition of emissions reduction. We urge all States to take into consideration their human rights obligations as they review their climate commitments.

  • UN expert presents 15 principles to end workers’ exposure to toxic and hazardous substances

    The UN Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes, Baskut Tuncak, has presented a report containing 15 principles to end the exploitation of workers through their exposure to hazardous substances.

  • Human rights are everyone’s business, amid relentless crises around world: UN’s Bachelet

    The relentless outbreak of crises around the world – from the fires in the Amazon to “carnage” in Syria and demonstrations in Hong Kong, Russia, Indonesian Papua and elsewhere - risk pushing the world “further and further away from global solutions to global problems”, the UN’s top rights official said on Wednesday.

  • Major changes to suicide prevention needed, with rights-based approach to make life “more liveable” — UN expert

    Suicide prevention should not be addressed by increased prescription of medication, says UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health Dainius Pūras.

  • International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

    UN experts urge decade of action to aid survival of indigenous languages

    In a statement to mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, UN human rights experts* are calling for a decade of action to protect and promote the use of indigenous languages, many of which are endangered:
    “Indigenous languages are necessary for the enjoyment of human rights, as well as being a part of the rich linguistic and cultural heritage of indigenous peoples.

  • 25 years after population conference, women still face challenges to ‘well-being and human rights’, says UN chief

    Many women and girls “still face enormous challenges to their health, well-being and human rights”, Secretary-General António Guterres told a High-level General Assembly meeting conevened to mark the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

  • INTERVIEW: Advancing human rights, a ‘never ending process’ says UN rights chief

    In August 2018, Michelle Bachelet, twice-elected President of Chile and the first head of UN Women, was confirmed as the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, replacing Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

  • New labour Convention to tackle violence against women at work

    Violence against women at work “is a widespread and major impediment to women’s enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms,” said UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet.

  • UN Secretary-General's message on Nelson Mandela International Day

    On this day, we pay tribute to an extraordinary global advocate for dignity and equality, and one of the most iconic and inspirational leaders of our time.

  • Update on Ukraine under item 10, 41st Session to the Human Rights Council

    Statement by UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore

  • Due to a budget deficit in the UN, the sessions of six human rights committees may be canceled.

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    The budget deficit, due to the fact that states are delaying the payment of contributions, seriously undermines the work of the treaty bodies - 10 committees that monitor the implementation of major conventions and covenants in the field of human rights. As a result, the scheduled sessions of many committees are postponed, which is a flagrant violation of international law and can lead to the collapse of the entire human rights system.