Posts Tagged ‘High Commissioner’

Jacob Blaustein Institute for Human Rights publishes book on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

December 21, 2013

On 19 December 2013 it was announced that the AJCs Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights  on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released a unique volume entitled: “The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: Conscience for the World”. Read the rest of this entry »

High Commissioner Pillay attacked and defended by States in Human Rights Council

March 4, 2013

The ongoing session 22nd of the UN Human Rights Council has many interesting issues that relate directly or indirectly to human rights defenders. One of the organizations that provides regular comments is the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) in Geneva. Below is an example and anyone interested to follow developments should subscribe:

On Thursday 28 February 2013, the High Commissioner Mrs Pillay presented her annual report, outlining a number of thematic priorities, including tackling discrimination on all grounds, ensuring accountability for human rights violations, and strengthening human rights mechanisms.  Following the presentation of the report a number of States took the floor to respond. The High Commissioner faced criticism from States unhappy with her highlighting of particular country and thematic situations of concern during her annual update to the Human Rights Council. Her call on States to ensure that no individual faces discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, was met once again with categorical denial by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation OIC that any such responsibility exists in international human rights law.  The OIC reproached the High Commissioner for promoting a notion that is ‘outside the framework of international human rights law’. The OIC has expressed this position many times previously, but it is increasingly anachronistic given the mounting acceptance at the Council that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity as shown by its adoption of a resolution on this subject in June 2011 and subsequent holding of a panel discussion.  Read the rest of this entry »

High Commissioner Pillay speaks out against homophobia

May 17, 2012

High Commissioner’s message for International Day Against Homophobia 2012

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia and the UN has published a video. In this video message the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay  (the one whose mandate has just been renewed for 2 years) talks about the human cost of homophobia and transphobia. Around the world, people are arrested, attacked, tortured and killed, just for being in a loving relationship. “We cannot let these abuses stand”, she says, calling on States to repeal discriminatory laws and ban discriminatory practices. “Punish violence and hatred, not love”.

UN High Commissioner Pillay speaks out against harassment of Sri Lankan HRDs during Council in Geneva

March 23, 2012

The man pictured here is Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who has tremendous helped the OHCHR during the last years to have a more penetrating presence in the media. On this occasion on 23 March 2012, it was to  warn that there must be no reprisals against Sri Lankan human rights defenders in the wake of a resolution calling on its Government to probe alleged abuses during the country’s civil war. The warning from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, follows the adoption of a resolution yesterday by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, calling on Sri Lanka to take “credible” steps to ensure accountability for alleged serious violations committed in 2009 during the final stages of the conflict between the Government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and to ensure accountability.

“During this Human Rights Council session, there has been an unprecedented and totally unacceptable level of threats, harassment and intimidation directed at Sri Lankan activists who had travelled to Geneva to engage in the debate, including by members of the 71-member official Sri Lankan government delegation,” said Rupert Colville, at a press briefing in Geneva. Mr. Colville said that intimidation and harassment of Sri Lankan civil society activists have also been reported in other locations around Geneva. Also, the Sri Lankan ambassador in Geneva received an anonymous threatening letter which is being followed up by the police and UN security.

At the same time, newspapers, news websites and TV and radio stations in Sri Lanka have been running, since January, a “continuous campaign of vilification,” including naming and in many cases showing images of activists, describing them as an ‘NGO gang’ and repeatedly accusing them of treason, mercenary activities and association with terrorism. “Some of these reports have contained barely veiled incitement and threats of retaliation,” Mr. Colville said. “At least two comments posted by readers of articles of this type have called for burning down of the houses of the civil society activists named in the articles, and at least one such comment called openly for them to be killed.”

The spokesperson said the High Commissioner had noted that some of the attacks on human rights defenders were carried in Sri Lankan state media and Government websites or were filed by journalists who had been officially accredited to the Council session by the Sri Lankan permanent mission.  “She is calling on the Government to ensure the protection of human rights defenders, to publicly disassociate itself from such statements, and to clearly uphold the right of Sri Lankan citizens to freely engage in international debate of this kind,” Mr. Colville said.