|Address on behalf of the UN System at the Celebration of the Human Rights Day
Address on behalf of the UN System, delivered by Hans Friedrich Schodder, UNHCR Representative in Kyrgyzstan, at the Celebration of the Human Rights Day, National Museum, Bishkek, 10 December 2008.
Your Excellency Mr Prime Minister, dear State Secretary, dear Human Rights Ombudsman, dear Chairperson of the Supreme Court, dear Director Abdilrosulova, Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of the United Nations System I would like to congratulate the people of the Kyrgyz Republic on this years Human Rights Day. Let me use this opportunity to convey to you the best wishes from the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr Neal Walker and the Regional representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Dimiter Chalev who, unfortunately, cannot be with us here but requested me to deliver our address instead.
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On this historic occasion, we should reaffirm the fundamental principles that its authors articulated. In the Universal Declaration they heralded the "advent of a world in which all human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want." The comprehensive vision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a beacon of hope for the future – it contemplates a world with full realization of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights without distinction, a world in which every man, women and child lives in dignity, free from hunger in a world without violence and discrimination, with the benefits of housing, health care, education and opportunity.
The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 60 years ago, was a landmark. Today it remains at the core of the United Nations very identity and continues to inspire all our collective actions and activities.
However, as the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon underlines in his message on Human Rights Day: "The challenges we face today are as daunting as those that confronted its drafters. We face a food emergency and a world financial crisis. Humankinds assault on the natural environment continues. There is political repression in too many countries."
In too many countries officials still believe that human rights may or even need to be compromised to counter real or imagined threats to their rule or to national security, labelled terrorism, extremism, or else. As historical experience demonstrates daily, such abuses of power are not only extremely short-sighted but also dangerous to national as well as to international justice and peace.
Today also the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navi Pillay aptly reminds us that no country can sit back and claim to have achieved full realisation of all the values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And as always the most vulnerable individuals continue to be on the frontline of hardship and abuse. Also here in Kyrgyzstan - within a few kilometres of this august gathering - we can easily find too many poor people who fear starvation, too many homeless without any shelter even in the cold winter, too many detainees who fear torture, too many refugees who do not have access to protection here in Kyrgyzstan from persecution in their home countries, as well as too many women who lack protection from despicable violence and abuse they are enduring even within their own families.
As the previous speakers correctly underlined it is the responsibility of the government of the Kyrgyz Republic to ensure fulfilment of all the values contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights instruments for all the people on its territory. The United Nations system, which I have the honour to represent today, will not cease in advising and supporting Kyrgyzstan to fully realise these obligations. We therefore welcome your support to the establishment of a Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights here in Bishkek and your increased attention to a systematic monitoring of your compliance with human rights standards.
The success of our common endeavour depends on its unwavering commitment to truth, with no tolerance for double standards or selective application. We must work for the full implementation of human rights in a way that improves the lives of women, children and men who are all entitled, regardless of their race, sex, religion, nationality, property or birth, to realisation of each and every right set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
|10, Dec. 2008