UN rights chief presents annual report News
UN rights chief presents annual report

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] presented his annual report [text, PDF] on Wednesday to the Human Rights Council [official website]. The report details the work done by the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) from December 1, 2015 to November 30, 2016. The Council created two new thematic special procedure mandates last year, including a Special Rapporteur on the right to development and an Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. To increase accessibility, OHCHR launched an online form for submitting information on alleged human rights violations. The Council enhanced its focus on challenging xenophobia and championing the rights of migrants, and also deepened its efforts to fight for gender equality and women’s rights. Zeid reported that this has been a significant year in terms of human rights milestones:

Important milestones were celebrated during the reporting period, including the fiftieth anniversary of the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the tenth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the thirtieth anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development; and the tenth anniversary of the Human Rights Council. These milestones symbolize the lasting and ever-increasing value of international human rights law and standards anchored in the principle of human dignity. Nevertheless, large parts of these instruments await full acceptance and implementation by all States.

An interactive dialogue will be held [press release] by the Council with the High Commissioner later this week.

Last week the US State Department also issued [JURIST report] its annual report on human rights. Ongoing conflict and social unrest continue to create a need for international organizations to promote human rights. In December the UN Zeid expressed concern [JURIST report] for global human rights. A UN human rights expert provided a report [JURIST report] to an international conference in Thailand that same month regarding discrimination of the lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender and intersex community. A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern [JURIST report] in November about possible crimes against humanity committed against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority. US Central Command concluded [JURIST report] that month that airstrikes carried out by the US-led coalition near Dayr az Zawr, Syria, in September did not violate international law.