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Microsoft Pledges $5 Million Contribution To UN Human Rights Office

Microsoft announced on May 16 that it will contribute $5 million over five years to the United Nations human rights office.

The announcement comes as the United States is slashing its contributions to the UN, prompting UN agencies to seek more funding from corporations.

Almost all the human rights office's funding has come from governments in the past.

"We're receiving close to zero from the private sector," said office spokesman Laurent Sauveur. "We feel the private sector has a tremendous role to play…It needs to step up to the plate."

UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said "I hope this is just the beginning of something much bigger."

Microsoft said it will develop technology to help the office track rights violations worldwide, including arbitrary killings, rapes, detentions without trial, and other abuses around the world.

"As a global company that sees the problems of the world, we believe that we have a responsibility to help solve them," Microsoft President Brad Smith said.

Microsoft also pledged to support the office's outreach campaigns, including the development of corporate principles for tackling discrimination against homosexuals in the workplace.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters