Tag Archives: UN High Commissioner

Angelina Jolie Appeals for Women’s Rights at Africa Union Summit (Video)

Angelina Jolie Pitt, who is also a special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, was participating in a panel discussion at the Africa Union Summit in Johannesburg on Friday (12 June) on the theme of violence against women.

Her speech focused on the need for the global community to address the violence and human rights violations that impact women and girls around the world.

There is a global epidemic of violence against women — both within conflict zones and within societies at peace — and it is still treated as a lesser crime and lower priority.

Women and girls are bearing the brunt of extremists that revel in treating them barbarically. This is inextricably linked to our overall failure to prevent and end conflicts worldwide, which is causing human suffering on an unprecedented level.”

Jolie said atrocities committed against women in conflict zones need to be addressed urgently.

We need policies for long-term security that are designed by women, focused on women, executed by women. Not at the expense of men, or instead of men, but alongside and with men.”

Jolie spoke to the critical need to engage men in the global women’s rights movement, which begins at the individual level.

There is no greater pillar of stability than a strong, free and educated woman. And there is no more inspiring role model than a man who respects and cherishes women and champions their leadership.” 

Angelina Jolie 04

Human Rights Council Pass Landmark LGBT Rights Resolution

The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a landmark resolution condemning violence and discrimination against LGBT people.

“The Human Rights Council has taken a fundamental step forward by reaffirming one of the United Nations’ key principles – that everyone is equal in dignity and rights. This resolution puts the UN on a trajectory to address the discrimination and violence LGBT persons suffer daily across the world.”

Jessica Stern, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

The resolution expresses grave concern ‘at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity’. It also welcomes ‘positive developments at the international, regional and national levels in the fight against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity’.

The resolution, passed with support from 25 countries (Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Montenegro, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, Romania, South Africa, FYR Macedonia, the UK, the US, Venezuela and Vietnam). 14 countries voted against the motion (Algeria, Botswana, Cote D’ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and UAE), while 7 countries including China and India abstained.

Only some UN members have a seat on the Human Rights Council.

The resolution was proposed in early September by Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and Colombia, and has backing from Israel, the US, New Zealand, and Australia. Based on the UN High Commissioner for Human RIghts’ 2011 report on anti-LGBT discrimination and violence, the proposed resolution calls for the Human Rights Council to update the 2011 report with “good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination.”

“We have to acknowledge a fundamental truth that LGBT violence anywhere is a threat to peace and stability and prosperity anywhere.”

John Kerry, US Secretary of State

In 2013, The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights launched Free and Equal, a public education campaign, to increase support for LGBT rights around the world.

The UN announced it would recognise the same-sex marriages of their some 44,000 employees and extend benefits to same-sex spouses in July of this year.