UN Updates

  • ‘Butcher of Bosnia’ Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide

    The United Nations’ Yugoslav war crimes tribunal convicted military chief Ratko Mladic of genocide and crimes against humanity, and sentenced him to life imprisonment for the atrocities committed during the 1992-1995 war.

    Mladic, 75, was found guilty of commanding forces responsible for barbaric crimes including, but not limited to the fatal three-year siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, and the 1995 massacre of approximately 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the eastern enclave of Srebrenica, which was Europe’s worst mass killing since the second World War. A three-judge panel convicted him of 10 of 11 counts in a powerful culmination of a monumental search for justice in the Balkans. Although the decision comes 22 years after Mladic’s egregious crimes at Srebrenica, he was arrested only in 2011 with his trial beginning in 2012.

    Source: http://bit.ly/2EIJblZ; http://bit.ly/2BeC1os

  • WHO launches manual to strengthen health sector responses to survivors of violence

    On the occasion of International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women (25th November), World Health Organisation (WHO) launched a new manual to help health managers and policy-makers to strengthen health systems to deliver better quality of care to women who have been subjected to violence.

    The manual is based on the WHO’s clinical and policy guidelines for “Responding to intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women” (2013) and acknowledges violence against women as an issue of gender inequality, a major public health problem and a grave human rights violation. Women subjected to violence are more likely to seek health care though they usually would not disclose violence as the underlying reason for seeking care. Therefore, health care providers have an important role to play in identifying women who experience violence, and responding to them with empathy. In order for health care providers to be able to respond appropriately, health systems need to be strengthened so that women receive high-quality and respectful care.

    Source: http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/violence/vaw-health-systems-manual/en/

  • The Bogota Declaration on tax justice for women

    In collaboration with Tax Justice Network and the Global Alliance for Tax Justice, Public Services International launched the ‘Bogota Declaration on Tax Justice for Women’s Rights’ in December 2017. Sometime in early 2017, researchers, advocates, public service trade unionists and activists from the tax justice and women’s rights movements organised a global meeting of leading organisations and thinkers and the Bogota Declaration on Tax Justice for Women’s Rights, was a result of this meeting,

    The aim of the meeting was to establish and confirm powerful, common positions that will strengthen concerted actions over the following years and shift the narrative on tax justice for women´s rights.
    The Bogota Declaration on Tax Justice for Women’s Rights aims to demands rights for women which can be realised through structural, systemic, cultural and fiscal policy changes. The tax justice movement, global trade unions, civil society and the women´s movements have been highlighting the impact of regressive tax policies and financial secrecy on women’s fundamental human rights and taking action to change the narrative.

    Source: http://bit.ly/2CsWM3h

  • Victor Madrigal appointed as UN Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity

    The United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Victor Madrigal-Borloz as the new Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity has the responsibility to assess the implementation of existing international human rights instruments, raise awareness around violence and discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity, engage in dialogue with States and other stakeholders and work with them to encourage implementation of laws and measures that reduce violence against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. The Expert is also responsible for conducting capacity-building and promoting international cooperation to support States and national efforts to combat discrimination. Mr. Madrigal-Borloz currently serves as the Secretary-General of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), and spent many years in the Inter-American Court and Commission of Human Rights. His work will build on the efforts of Vitit Muntarbhorn, the Thai international law professor who was appointed as the first Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in September 2016.

    Source: http://bit.ly/2CC7qCu

  • UNDP releases report on legal gender recognition in Asia

    The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released a study titled Legal Gender Recognition of Transgender People: a Multi-Country Legal and Policy Review in Asia which highlights that a majority of transgender people across the Asia-Pacific region have not been able to obtain any official identification documents that reflect their gender identity. The report further mentions that the lack of gender recognition has led to widespread social exclusion, stigma, discrimination and violence towards individuals who are seen to deviate from gender norms because their gender identity and/or expression does not coincide with their sex assigned at birth. The report further takes cognizance of the existing laws, policies and practices related to legal gender recognition for transgender people in nine countries in Asia: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand.

    Source: http://bit.ly/2qcuGob

  • Expanded Yogyakarta Principles released on their 10th anniversary

    On the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Yogyakarta Principles, a group of 33 international human rights experts released a set of new principles on International human rights law pertaining to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) to call for renewed action worldwide against violations and discrimination and re-assert the commitment to universal human rights. The new principles reflect significant developments both in the field of international human rights law and in the understanding of violations affecting persons of ‘diverse sexual orientations and gender identities’, as well as recognition of the often-distinct violations affecting persons on grounds of ‘gender expression’ and ‘sex characteristics’.

    The Yogyakarta Principles plus 10 add to the original 29 Yogyakarta Principles and set out nine additional Principles that cover a range of rights, dealing with information and communication technologies, poverty, cultural diversity, extension of protection of gender characteristics and expression in all levels of administration and justice. The principles further aim at ensuring legal recognition of changing genders and providing justiciable rights and remedies to ensure protection from all forms of contemporary social, legal and economic discrimination and exploitation of the LGBTI community.

    Source: http://bit.ly/2BqhhKC

  • CEDAW issues General Recommendation no. 36 on girl’s and women’s right to education

    The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) submitted general recommendation no. 36 on girls’ and women’s right to education in its sixty-eighth session and highlighted that education of girls and women is one of the most effective investments for sustainable and inclusive development. The recommendation focuses on two critical education targets that need to be achieved: (a) ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes; and (b) eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.

    The recommendation further mentions the Education 2030 Framework for Action that was agreed upon by the global education community to accompany the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda which acknowledges that ‘gender equality is inextricably linked to the right to education for all’ and that achieving this ‘requires a rights-based approach’ which ensures ‘that both female and male learners not only gain access to and complete education cycles, but are empowered equally in and through education.’ The general recommendation recognizes the critical gap between the legal recognition of girls’ and women’s right to education remains critical and its effective implementation calls for further guidance and action on Article 10 of the Convention.


    Source: http://bit.ly/2E33YB8

  • Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) launched

    The International Labor Organization, UN Women, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have launched the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC). With a vision to achieve gender equality at workplace, EPIC will act as a multi-stakeholder coalition to contribute to the realization of target 8.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals i.e. to achieve equal pay between women and men for work of equal value by 2030.In an ILO-Gallup world survey, it was found that women across the world, irrespective of regions, sectors or countries were paid less than men. The Coalition aims to multiply the outreach and impact of existing partnerships and “achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value” by 2030.


  • WHO releases guidelines for healthcare workers on responding to sexual violence

    WHO has released guidelines to enable health care providers respond effectively to children and adolescents (up to 18 years of age) who have been sexually abused (including sexual assault and rape) with compassionate and respectful care.  A 2011 study estimated that 18% of girls, and 8% of boys worldwide have experienced sexual abuse. The guidelines recommend that healthcare providers place the best interests of children and adolescents first by assessing and promoting their safety; ensuring confidentiality and privacy; offering choices in provision of care; respecting their autonomy and wishes; and addressing the specific needs of boys and girls with additional vulnerabilities, such as LGBTI adolescents, children and adolescents with disabilities, and those from low socio-economic groups and indigenous populations, and ensuring provision of care to them without discrimination.

    Source: http://bit.ly/2hbelJl; http://bit.ly/2y4AleB.

  • UN Experts propose plan to end harmful practices related to witchcraft

    Over 100 United Nations officials collaborated with international experts in Geneva to establish effective means of combating human rights violations related to witchcraft. Officials advocated that measures must be comprehensive while enshrining inalienable human rights. Examples of concrete measures discussed include strengthened data collection, grassroots collaboration with traditional health practitioners, and the regulation of “independent faith-based practices”. The approach will integrate legislative action with the improvement of socio-economic livelihoods and significant community engagement. The initiative is a part of the larger UN action plan to end all forms of violence against women under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    Source: http://bit.ly/2koiPQZ