For the last decade, the Convention for the Protection of all Persons against Enforced Disappearances and the Committee on Enforced Disappearances have carried out sustained dialogues with governments, families and others to highlight and sometimes find the missing.

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A woman places a rose on a mural to honor the memory of people killed and missing during the El Salvador civil war. Credit: EPA-EFE/Rodrigo Sura

In 2005, Isatou Jammeh’s father and aunt disappeared while at work on the family farm in Gambia. She was 14 years old.

In the subsequent decade and half, she and her family spent a great deal of time trying to find out who disappeared them, why, and to gain some measure of justice. During all this time, they did not get any…


The Human Rights Committee has given the highest ratings to two countries for their follow-up on recommendations on combatting discrimination and strengthening human rights institutions.

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Inhabitants of the suburbs, Madagascar, 06 September 2019. EPA-EFE/LUCA ZENNARO

In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Human Rights Committee has continued its work reviewing States parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights under its follow-up to concluding observations procedure.

The follow-up procedure has been used by the Committee since 2013. After the constructive dialogues between State parties and the Committee in Geneva, the Committee adopts concluding observations. From these, it selects two to four concluding observations on which the State party is expected to report within one year. The Committee reviews of the reports and, at its sessions, assesses the State parties’ progress in implementing them…


“The Berkeley Protocol on digital and open source investigations” is the first international protocol on using social media as evidence of human rights violations. A joint publication of the UN Human Rights Office and UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Centre it offers global guidance on using public digital information. Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of the Berkeley Centre and Lindsay Freeman, Director of law and policy for the Centre, talk about its genesis.

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The UC Berkeley Human Rights Center pursues justice through science and law, and, in more recent years, technology. With the rapidly increasing use of smartphones, social media, and an…


A Technical Assistance Team was mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to support judicial investigations into serious crimes in the Kasai provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We follow them on one of their visits to a location where a massacre took place.

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The Technical Assistance Team excavating a mass gravesite in Tshisuku (Kazumba territory), Kasai Central province, DR Congo, June 2019. MONUSCO/UN Joint Human Rights Office

The splatter on the walls painted a gruesome picture.

“It is blood,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Michel Ngalamulume Kadugu, Chief Judicial Inspector of the Senior Military Prosecutor’s office (Auditorat Militaire Supérieur) of the former Kasai Occidental province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). “And here we can see bullet holes and heavy weaponry impacts.”


On World Statistics Day, UN Human Rights Chief of Methodology, Education and Training Francesca Marotta explains how a human rights approach to data can rebuild public confidence.

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By Francesca Marotta

The observance of World Statistics Day on 20 October happens when public trust in data and statistics is being weakened by the speed and reach of misinformation and disinformation. Whether produced by national statistical offices or by other actors, restoring trust in data and statistics should be an utmost priority not just for statisticians or data scientists but also for human rights advocates. …


Civil society organizations in Chad have been at the forefront of the advocacy for the abolition of the death penalty. Salomon Nodjitoloum, member of a coalition of NGOs who actively campaigned in favour of abolition, recalls the path that led to ending the death penalty.

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Motorcyclists drive by the Chadian flag hoisted up a flagpole in the country’s capital, N’Djamena, 10 February 2008. EPA/MOHAMED MESSARA

By deciding to end the death penalty for terrorism-related offences in May 2020, Chad has joined some 170 States across the globe that either have abolished the death penalty in law, or do not carry out executions.

At the end of April 2020, the 155 members of the Chadian National Assembly adopted an amendment to law 003/PR/2020, the so-called ‘anti-terrorism’ law, to remove a provision that maintained capital punishment for terrorism-related offences. That revision enabled Chad to fully abolish capital punishment, after the National Assembly had promulgated a penal code in 2017 that abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.


Solidarité feminine pour la paix et le développement intégral (SOFEPADI), an NGO founded by women in the north east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, helps women, children and men victims of conflict related sexual violence heal their physical and psychological wounds, and fights impunity for crimes in Ituri.

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A view of the entrance of SOFEPADI’s Karibuni Wa Mama centre, Bunia, Ituri, DR Congo. ©OHCHR/A. Headley

The large compound holds buildings painted in vivid colours. Patients waiting for their turns sit silently on wooden benches lined up in open corridors. Mothers with new-borns and older children, elderly women and a lone, taciturn ageless man ready to meet the counsellors and medical staff.

One would think that the people who visit the compound have the regular ailments one would encounter in any healthcare centre around the globe. However, all of these visitors have a harrowing story to tell.

“One night, unknown assailants entered my village. At that time, I was just outside the village and I was…


By Laurent Sauveur, Director of External Relations, UN Human Rights

Participants editing content on women and LGBTI rights during an editathon in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 2019.
Participants editing content on women and LGBTI rights during an editathon in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 2019.
Participants editing content on women and LGBTI rights during an editathon in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 2019. OHCHR Photo

Today, on International Mother Language Day, I am pleased to announce the results of the #WikiForHumanRights campaign that the UN Human Rights Office, the Wikimedia Foundation, and Wikipedia volunteers launched on December 10th. This partnership is an effort by our respective organisations to enhance the quality and quantity of human rights content on Wikipedia, in different languages. It captures our shared commitment to increase access to human rights information; and to promote the human rights to freedom of information and expression.

Online information about human rights can vary significantly between…


UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng heads the recently created UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech. In a wide-ranging interview with UN Human Rights, he explains why hate speech is not protected.

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Respect for human rights without any form of discrimination is fundamental to the new UN Hate Speech Action Plan. Photo credit: Olivier Hoslet/EPA.

In June 2019, the Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres, launched the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech. RIn a recent interview with the UN Human Rights Office, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng discussed how to combat the rising issue of hate speech.

You are leading the UN’s new strategy to counter hate…


For nearly 10 years, Maria Elena Larios of El Salvador has looked for her son Heriberto, who went missing while trying to make it to Mexico to search for a better life.

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Maria Elena Larios holds a photo of her son, Heriberto. Heriberto was 18 when he left home in El Salvador to migrate to Mexico. Photo: OHCHR

In 2010, Maria Elena Larios’ son, Heriberto Antonio Gonzalez left home in El Salvador looking for a better life in Mexico. He was never again seen by his family.

Nearly a decade later, Larios still searches for him, refusing to give up the hope that he is still alive. Even her references to Heriberto are in the present tense.

“For me it has been very difficult to have…

UN Human Rights

The United Nations #HumanRights office is led by High Commissioner Michelle #Bachelet. #StandUp4HumanRights

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