Human Rights Council in Geneva

Persecution of civil society, migration crisis top concerns of UN human rights chief

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

14 September 2015 – An “exhausted and angry” High Commissioner for Human Rights today opened the 30th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council with a wide-ranging address in which he singled out countries by name for their role in accelerating human misery and implored decision-makers worldwide to swiftly establish an effective and principled policy to deal with the global migration crisis.

"Unless we change dramatically in how we think and behave as international actors – Member States, inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations alike – all of us in the human rights community will be inconsequential in the face of such mounting violations", said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

The human rights chief also drew attention to the “the specific human rights violations faced by millions of intersex people.”

"Because their bodies don’t comply with typical definitions of male or female, intersex children and adults are frequently subjected to forced sterilization and other unnecessary and irreversible surgery, and suffer discrimination in schools, workplaces and other settings,” he said, adding that his office plans to have an expert meeting to identify steps that States and others can take to end these abuses."

Opening remarks by Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at the Expert meeting on ending human rights violations against intersex persons Geneva, 16 September 2015 Room 15, Centre International de Conférences Genève Colleagues and Friends:

"This is a historic meeting: the first time that the United Nations has convened a discussion specifically to address the human rights situation of intersex more