Can the UN prevent serious violations of human rights?


Photo: Victoria Hazou UN/MINUSTAH

The United Nations was created to prevent human suffering and uphold human rights. While Member States have the primary responsibility for protecting the lives and rights of their populations, the UN is obliged to step in when countries are unable or unwilling to do so. However, as the UN has failed to stop the most serious situations of human rights violations and atrocities against civilians, including in Rwanda, Srebrenica and most recently Sri Lanka and Syria, the organisation has been forced to rethink its strategies.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Human Rights up Front (HRuF) Initiative in 2013. It aims to ensure that the UN system takes early and effective action, as mandated by the Charter and UN resolutions, to prevent or respond to large-scale violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. It seeks a cultural change within the UN system to make human rights and the protection of civilians a system-wide core responsibility.

This seminar will discuss how the UN, Member States and civil society can work together to improve the response to situations of grave violations of human rights. In what way does the HRuF-initiative change UN operations? How can support for the initiative be strengthened among Member States? And how can the UN better interact and leverage civil society?



  • Ben Majekodumni, ‎Senior Human Rights and Political Affairs Officer at United Nations leading the HRuF initiative
  • Eva Grambye, Deputy Executive Director, Head of Int’l Division, Danish Institute for Human Rights
  • The discussion will be moderated by Kristian Fischer, Director, Danish Institute for International Studies


Tuesday 29 November 2016, 3:30-5:00 PM

UN City, Marmorvej 51, 2100 Copenhagen

For participation, please register on:


Entry is free. The event will be held in English.


For further information: Mette Fjalland, UNDP’s Nordic Office,, mobile  +45 5183-6228.

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