This year’s commemoration of Human Rights Day marks the beginning of a year-long celebration of seven decades since the adoption of one of the world’s most profound and far-reaching international agreements. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes the equality and dignity of every human being and stipulates that every government has a core duty to enable all people to enjoy all their inalienable rights and freedoms.
Throughout history and still today, genocide has inflicted profound and painful losses on all humanity. In 1948, with the unanimous adoption by the General Assembly of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Member States recognized a common interest and duty to safeguard groups from threats to their very existence. Coming so soon after the Holocaust and the Second World War, the Convention embodied a collective determination to protect people from brutality and to prevent any future such horror.
In the lead-up to the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2018, join us in standing up for human rights!
Human rights are everyone’s rights. Help spread the word, in your own language.
Record yourself reading one of the 30 articles of the Declaration in any of the 135 languages currently available on this site and share your video with your friends. Continue reading →
1 December 2017 : The world is well on its way to meeting the target of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Nearly 21 million people living with HIV now have access to treatment – a number that should grow to more than 30 million by 2020. AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infections are declining. There is great hope that the world can deliver on its promise – but much more needs to be done.
Our world faces many grave challenges.
Widening conflicts and inequality.
Extreme weather and deadly intolerance.
Security threats – including nuclear weapons.
We have the tools and wealth to overcome these challenges. All we need is the will.
The world’s problems transcend borders.
This understanding is common to both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change – as it was underlined by my predecessors.
But the clock is ticking and we are too slow.
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Allow me before I read a few more orthodox remarks a more subversive reflection. I am very happy to participate in a meeting about empowerment, because when we discuss gender equality, in my humble belief, there is essentially a question of power. It’s power at all levels, in a male-dominated world where there is still a male-dominated culture – power in family relations, power in society, power in the economy, power in politics – to a large extent – there is a serious question of power.
Nelson Mandela continues to inspire the world through his example of courage and compassion, and his commitment to social justice and a culture of freedom and peace.
I had the honour of meeting Nelson Mandela several times, including during South Africa’s transition. Each time, I was struck by his wisdom, his compassion, and above all, his humility.
Today we pay tribute to the women, girls, men and boys who have suffered the atrocity of sexual violence in conflict, and we reaffirm our global commitment to eliminate this scourge.
Rape and sexual violence in conflict are tactics of terrorism and war, used strategically to humiliate, degrade and destroy, and often to pursue a campaign of ethnic cleansing. They should never be downplayed as war’s inevitable by-product. Sexual violence is a threat to every individual’s right to a life of dignity, and to humanity’s collective peace and security.