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Good morning, this is Pip. As a turbulent year for human rights draws to a close, we spoke to the outgoing president of the UN Human Rights Council, Fiji’s Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, about the challenges of Covid, climate change wins and the fight to ensure everyone’s voices are heard.

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Pip Cook


On our radar

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Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan holds a special session on the grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, May 2021. (Credit: UN Photo)

🇺🇳 UN human rights chief looks back on a turbulent year. Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan took up her role as president of the Human Rights Council at the height of the Covid pandemic, when countries around the world were still coming to terms with the rights implications of the virus on their populations – from vaccine inequity to widening disparities in gender, race and wealth. She has since overseen a record 176 resolutions passed without a single session postponed or cancelled. Before she left Geneva for a new role at the International Criminal Court, she spoke to us about the successes and challenges of the past 12 months, from fighting for climate change action to championing the voices of smaller states.

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Here's what else is happening

Number of the day

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Image: Keystone

The number of urgent meetings held by the council to discuss human rights violations around the world. The past 12 months have seen old conflicts escalate while new wars have been waged around the globe. The international community has scrambled to respond, with the Human Rights Council alone holding an unprecedented number of special sessions – five in total – to address rights abuses in Myanmar, Afghanistan, Sudan, the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Ethiopia. That's more than it held throughout the previous four years combined.

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