Racial discrimination

Non-discrimination

Everyone has the right to equality and to be free from all forms of discrimination, including based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics, race, disability, religion or belief, national or ethnic origin, or other status.

ISHR is committed to addressing all forms of discrimination and promoting diversity and inclusion, both internally and through our programmatic support to women human rights defenders, LGBTIQ rights defenders, and anti-racism defenders, among others.

Unfortunately because of deep-rooted discrimination and stereotypes related to gender and sexuality, women human rights defenders face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence – both because of the work they do and because of who they are. Women human rights defenders are detained and tortured in retaliation for their work to challenge patriarchy and demand an end to discrimination and violence. ISHR played an instrumental role in lobbying States at the UN Human Rights Council to call for the immediate and unconditional release of detained Saudi women human rights defenders and accountability for their torture.

Social movements taking to the streets to demand racial justice are met with disproportionate force from police and armed security forces. Working together with affected people and communities, and as part of together with a broad civil society coalition, ISHR played an instrumental role in:

  • pushing for the UN Human Rights Council to convene an urgent debate in June 2020 on systemic racism and police violence and to centre and elevate the voices, experiences and expertise of Black people and people of African descent. 
  • calling on the Council to establish an independent international expert mechanism to address systemic racism and promote racial justice and equality for Africans and people of African descent through the adoption of a resolution in July 2021. 

These developments are a testament to the resilience, bravery and commitment of victims, their families, their representatives and anti-racism defenders globally.

ISHR has played a significant role in supporting progress on the rights of LGBTI persons and communities at the UN,  assisting LGBTI communities and defenders to participate in and have their voices heard. 

We played a leading role in developing the Yogyakarta Principles on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and the Yogyakarta Principles plus 10; as well as contributing to the creation and renewal of a the first UN Independent Expert on violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orienetation and gender identity. Oour work with LGBTI rights defenders strengthens international and regional protections against violence and discrimination.

Latest updates

Check out all the latest updates to this topic

Elections | Human Rights Council Pledging Event 2021

This week in an online event, 10 candidate States publicly spoke to an audience of around 200 people on their pledges as incoming Human Rights Council members for 2022 – 2024. They also faced questions on pressing human rights issues from both States and civil society organisations.

France | Authorities urged to ensure justice for Adama Traoré and end judicial harassment of human rights defender Assa Traoré

For over five years, Assa Traoré, the sister of Adama Traoré, a black French man who was killed at the hands of the police, has faced judicial harassment for campaigning for a transparent investigation to establish the responsibility of the gendarmes, a name given to the paramilitary police officers in France, for the death of her brother and for them to be brought to justice. ISHR joined with the Adama Committee to call on the French Government to urgently put an end to the judicial harassment of Assa Troaré. This harassment diverts the public attention from the justice that is expected for Adama’s death and appears intended to dissuade Assa from continuing her struggle.

HRC 47 | Human Rights Council adopts agenda for transformative change for racial justice and equality

ISHR welcomes the Council’s historic consensus decision, led by the Africa Group, to adopt a resolution mandating an independent international expert mechanism to address systemic racism and to promote racial justice and equality for Africans and people of African descent. The adoption of this resolution is testament to the resilience, bravery and commitment of victims, their families, their representatives and anti-racism defenders globally.

Racial justice | Long-overdue need to confront legacies of slavery, the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans and colonialism and to seek reparatory justice

ISHR, as part of a broad civil society coalition from the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and international human rights organisations, is calling on the UN Human Rights Council, during its 47th session, to adopt a resolution that ensures effective accountability and follow-up to HRC Resolution 43/1 on systemic racism and police violence against Africans and people of African descent in the United States and globally.

HRC47 | Call for UN inquiry into police violence and systemic racism in the United States

ISHR joined 171 families of victims of police violence in the United States and over 270 civil society organisations from more than 40 countries in sending letters to the UN High Commissioner and the African Group regarding the UN Human Rights Council’s role to ensure effective accountability and follow-up to HRC Resolution 43/1 on anti-Black racism and police brutality in the United States and globally.

HRC | A year after the murder of George Floyd, the voices of the families of victims and their advocates remain crucial at the UN

In reaction to the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 in the United States, anti-racist advocates and the families of victims have succeeded in turning the tide at the UN on the issue of anti-Black racism and violence policewomen. In a new video released today, ISHR highlights their essential contributions, in tribute to George Floyd and all victims of racially-motivated police violence.