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High Commissioner's Global Update: Key Points

Updated: Jun 19

On 18 June, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Volker Türk, presented his global update at the opening of the 56th session of the Human Rights Council (full statement available here).

(Photo from OHCHR website)

Below are the key points in the statement:

  • Civilian Deaths: A 72% increase in civilian deaths in armed conflicts in 2023.

  • Israel, Gaza and Lebanon: High civilian casualties and deteriorating humanitarian access in Gaza, call for hostages' release, an end to the occupation and de-escalation between Israel and Lebanon.

  • Ukraine: Deteriorating situation with 68% of Ukraine's electricity production capacity destroyed.

  • Sudan: Potential war crimes by both Generals, massive displacement, and worsening humanitarian crisis.

  • DRC: Urged an end to violence and hate speech, and noted also extractive industry’s responsibilities.

  • Syria: Continued violence despite decreased hostilities.

  • West Africa: Unconstitutional changes in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger; no national dialogue.

  • South Sudan: Widespread violence, including sexual violence, food insecurity, and large-scale displacement.

  • Haiti: Urgent need to deploy the Multinational Security Support Mission in the face of endemic gang violence.

  • Humanitarian Funding: $40.8 billion needed, with only 16.1% of appeals funded.

  • Environmental Issues: Climate change exacerbated by wars; need for integrating human rights into environmental policies and respecting obligations.

  • Inequality: Largest increase in inequality in three decades, undermining SDGs, noting negative examples from Sri Lanka, Laos and Argentina.

  • Increased Engagement: Noting Laos, Malaysia, Ecuador and Honduras, as well as commitments to establish new offices in the Caribbean and Mozambique.

  • Human Rights Economy: Called for social justice and fair distribution of wealth.

  • Racial Discrimination: Brazil, Colombia, and the US taking steps to address racial discrimination, but issues remain globally, including in the EU.

  • Women's Rights: Noted pushbacks on women’s and girls’ rights, systemic persecution in Afghanistan, and arbitrary arrests in Iran. Welcomed legislation against gender-based violence in Dominica and Saint Lucia.

  • Hate Speech and Discrimination: Warned against antisemitism, anti-Muslim bigotry, scapegoating migrants and refugees and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Human Rights Defenders and journalists: Concerns about reprisals, including against Indigenous HRDs; welcomed Guatemala’s protection initiatives.

  • Yemen: Deep concern for arbitrarily detained UN and NGO staff.

  • Civic Space: Noted arbitrary arrests in Belarus and Azerbaijan, as well as worrying trends in civic space restrictions in over 50 countries, including in the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, India, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Slovakia and Türkiye.

  • Peru: Legislative initiatives could undermine judicial and electoral independence.

  • Mexico: Called for accountability for electoral period violence and killings.

  • China: Concerns about Xinjiang, counterterrorism laws, national security laws in Hong Kong SAR and heavy sentences for activists; urged legal reform and release of arbitrarily detained individuals.

  • International institutions and mechanisms: Concerned about attacks and reprisals.

For further details, you can buy a copy of HRLO's summary, or sponsor it for all, for low rates, available on a pilot basis. Easy-to-read, all States and topics are marked in bold.


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