Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.

10 Dec 2015 by Alejandro Alvarez, Team Leader for Rule of Law, Justice, Security and Human Rights at UNDP

Eleanor RooseveltMrs. Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States holding a Declaration of Human Rights poster in English. [November 1949] Photo: UN Photo
In celebrating 2015 International Human Rights Day, we are invited to reflect on the importance of the freedoms we enjoy and to recommit to supporting the fundamental freedoms of all. UNDP’s work is based on the belief that people experience poverty, deprivation or exclusion not only as a lack of income but also as a lack of education or health care or a lack of dignity and participation in their community. These dimensions of peoples’ lives have been considered so important by governments all around the world that they have recognized them as entitlements, as human rights, both in national and in international law. 2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of the twin covenants: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). These seminal human rights treaties, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), constitute the International Bill of Human Rights. Freedom is the idea that underpins international human rights law and constitutes the norms and regulations that protect and guarantee our rights. UNDP emphasizes that advancing human development is about creating an enabling environment for people to exercise their choices, which includes their indivisible civil, political, … Read more

When people are counted no one is left behind

10 Dec 2015 by Clifton Cortez, Team Leader, Gender, Key Populations, and LGBTI – HIV, Health and Development Group, UNDP

LGBTI inclusion infographicClick the picture to see the full infographic.
In September 2015, a multi-sectoral group of experts met in New York from all over the world. Despite varied perspectives, each had previously been involved in some aspect of LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trasngender, Intersex) data work or were experts in data measurement. Their goal was to reach consensus on a definition of LGBTI inclusion and provide advice on what was necessary to measure it. In September 2015, the Nepal Constituent Assembly approved a new Constitution that includes provisions protecting the rights of sexual and gender minorities. This would never have happened without the advocacy of LGBTI leaders, community activists, and allies and their efforts highlighting data, including violence against transgender people. That same month, the world adopted an ambitious new development agenda that aims to reduce inequalities, promote peaceful and inclusive societies, and provide access to justice for all. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commit all of us to leaving no one behind. However, in every corner of our world, experiences of stigma, discrimination and violence mark the lives of millions of LGBTI people every day. These phenomena are manifested in both seemingly benign and obviously heinous forms, either being unfair. Gay men serve in the armed forces during conflict, … Read more

When home is no longer safe: Reporting human rights abuses in Yemen

10 Dec 2015 by Dina El-Mamoun, Chief Technical Advisor, Support to Human Rights Project, UNDP Yemen

A boy in stands near rubble from the conflict in Yemen.UNDP is training NGOs in Yemen to document and report on human rights abuses during the conflict and to provide support to victims. Photo: Ehab Al-Absi/UNDP Yemen
"So close to dying”. This is how Hanan describes what happened earlier this year, when forces surrounded and stormed her home in Khur Maksar District, Aden, where she lived with her husband, 4-year-old child and niece, aged 16. Later Hanan and her family fled their home due to shelling and because of gas, electricity and water shortages. In this sense, their suffering is typical of stories told by Yemenis throughout the country who describe human rights violations at the hands of the parties to the conflict, which began in March 2015 More than 2,600 civilians have been killed and more than 5,200 wounded since March, according to October figures from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Many civilians fear for their lives on a daily basis. Some 2.3 million are internally displaced, and 170 000 have fled to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and some Gulf countries. Many Yemenis I have spoken to are pinning their hopes on the UN brokered negotiations, which are due to commence on 15 December. One Yemeni activist told me yesterday: “We fear the worst if these negotiations do not succeed in reaching an agreement.” This year Human Rights Day has special … Read more

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