Delivering his first update on human rights around the world to the top UN rights body since taking office six months ago, rights chief Volker Turk voiced alarm at "the scope and magnitude of discrimination against women and girls", describing it as "one of the most overwhelming human rights violations worldwide"
Turk warned "discrimination and racism are virulent threats".
"They [hostile nations] weaponize contempt," Volker told the UN Human Rights Council, adding "They humiliate and violate human rights, fueling grievances and despair, and obstructing development."
He highlighted the situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have effectively squeezed women out of public life since sweeping back to power in August 2021.
"The repression of women in Afghanistan is unparalleled," he said. "Such a tyranny must not escape accountability."
Turk also pointed to Iran, which was rocked by months of nationwide protests last year after Mahsa Amini died in custody following her arrest for an alleged breach of Iran's dress code for women.
"It is urgent for the authorities to act on the demands of protestors, in particular women and girls, who continue to endure profound discrimination," Turk said.
Beyond country crackdowns on women's rights, Turk said he was "shocked to the core by the contempt for women... spawned across the internet by so-called influencers," condoning "the pervasive commodification of women".
Women and girls are not the only ones targeted by "vicious hate speech", Turk said, adding attacks on "people of African descent, Jews, Muslims, LGBTIQ+ people, refugees, migrants and many other people from minority groups".
He deplored "deliberate provocations... intended to drive wedges between communities," like the recent Koran burning in Sweden, saying "this is deeply dangerous".
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights underlined how police violence in many countries disproportionately affects people of African descent, revealing "the deep structural harm rooted in racial discrimination".
He noted repeated reports from his office of "excessive use of force, racial profiling and discriminatory practices by police", in numerous countries, including the United States, France, Britain and Brazil.