70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Published in World
Monday, 10 December 2018 15:01

Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet

Geneva (6 December 2018) - On 10 December, we mark the 70th anniversary of that extraordinary document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is, I firmly believe, as relevant today as it was when it was adopted 70 years ago.

Arguably even more so, as over the passing decades, it has passed from being an aspirational treatise into a set of standards that has permeated virtually every area of international law.

It has withstood the tests of the passing years, and the advent of dramatic new technologies and social, political and economic developments that its drafters could not have foreseen.

Its precepts are so fundamental that they can be applied to every new dilemma.

The Universal Declaration gives us the principles we need to govern artificial intelligence and the digital world.

It lays out a framework of responses that can be used to counter the effects of climate change on people, if not on the planet.

It provides us with the basis for ensuring equal rights for groups, such as LGBTI people, whom few would even dare name in 1948.

Everyone is entitled to all the freedoms listed in the Universal Declaration "without distinction of any kind such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."

The last words of that sentence – "other status" – have frequently been cited to expand the list of people specifically protected. Not just LGBTI people, but also persons with disabilities – who now have a Convention of their own, adopted in 2006. Elderly people, who may get one as well.  Indigenous peoples.  Minorities of all sorts. 
Everyone.

Gender is a concept that is addressed in almost every clause of the Declaration. For its time, the document was remarkably lacking in sexist language. The document refers to "everyone," "all" or "no one" throughout its 30 Articles.

This trailblazing usage reflects the fact that, for the first time in the history of international law-making, women played a prominent role in drafting the Universal Declaration.

The role of Eleanor Roosevelt, who chaired the drafting committee is well known. Less well known is the fact that women from Denmark, Pakistan, the Communist bloc and other countries around the world also made crucial contributions. 

Indeed it is thanks primarily to the Indian drafter Hansa Mehta, that the French phrase "all men are born free and equal," taken from the Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen, became in the Universal Declaration "all human beings are born free and equal." 

A simple but – in terms of women’s rights and of minority rights – revolutionary phrase. 

Hansa Mehta objected to Eleanor Roosevelt’s assertion that "men" was understood to include women – the widely-accepted idea at that time. She argued that countries could use this wording to restrict the rights of women, rather than expand them. 

Born out of the devastation of two World Wars, the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the Holocaust, the Universal Declaration is geared to prevent similar disasters, and the tyranny and violations which caused them. It sets out ways to prevent us from continuing to harm each other, and aims to provide us with "freedom from fear and want."

It sets limits on the powerful, and inspires hope among the powerless.

Over the seven decades since its adoption, the Universal Declaration has underpinned countless beneficial changes in the lives of millions of people across the world, permeating some 90 national Constitutions and numerous national, regional and international laws and institutions.

But, 70 years after its adoption, the work the Universal Declaration lays down for us to do is far from over. And it never will be. 

In 30 crystal-clear articles, the Universal Declaration shows us the measures which will end extreme poverty, and provide food, housing, health, education, jobs and opportunities for everyone.

It lights the path to a world without wars and Holocausts, without torture or famine or injustice. A world where misery is minimized and no one is too rich or powerful to evade justice.

A world where every human has the same worth as every other human, not just at birth but for the duration of their entire lives.

The drafters wanted to prevent another war by tackling the root causes, by setting down the rights everyone on the planet could expect and demand simply because they exist – and to spell out in no uncertain terms what cannot be done to human beings.

The poor, the hungry, the displaced and the marginalized – drafters aimed to establish systems to support and protect them.

The right to food and to development is crucial. But this has to be achieved without discrimination on the basis of race, gender or other status. You cannot say to your people – I will feed you, but I won’t let you speak or enjoy your religion or culture.

The rights to land and adequate housing are absolutely basic – and yet in some countries, austerity measures are eroding those very rights for the most vulnerable.

Climate change can undermine the right to life, to food, to shelter and to health. These are all related – and the Universal Declaration and international human rights conventions provide a roadmap to their achievement.

I am convinced that the human rights ideal, laid down in this Declaration, has been one of the most constructive advances of ideas in human history – as well as one of the most successful.

But today, that progress is under threat.

We are born ‘free and equal,’ but millions of people on this planet do not stay free and equal. Their dignity is trampled and their rights are violated on a daily basis.

In many countries, the fundamental recognition that all human beings are equal, and have inherent rights, is under attack. The institutions so painstakingly set up by States to achieve common solutions to common problems are being undermined.

And the comprehensive web of international, regional and national laws and treaties that gave teeth to the vision of the Universal Declaration is also being chipped away by governments and politicians increasingly focused on narrow, nationalist interests. 

We all need to stand up more energetically for the rights it showed us everyone should have – not just ourselves, but all our fellow human beings – and which we are at constant risk of eroding through our own, and our leaders’ forgetfulness, neglect or wanton disregard.

I will end, where the Universal Declaration begins, with the powerful promise – and warning – contained in the first lines of its Preamble:
"…Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

"…Disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief, and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.

"…It is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse as a last resort to rebellion against tyranny and oppression that human rights should be protected by the rule of law."

And we would do well to pay more attention to the final words of that same Preamble:

"…every individual and every organ of society keeping this Declaration constantly in mind shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms  and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction."

We have come a long way down this path since 1948. We have taken many of progressive measures prescribed by the Universal Declaration at the national and international levels.

But we still have a long way to go, and too many of our leaders seem to have forgotten these powerful and prophetic words. We need to rectify that, not just today, not just on the 70th anniversary next Monday, but every day, every year.

Human rights defenders the world over are on the frontlines of defending the Universal Declaration through their work, their dedication and their sacrifice. No matter where we live or what our circumstances are, most of us do have the power to make a difference – to make our homes, communities, countries, and our world better – or worse – for others. Each of us needs to do our part to breathe life into the beautiful dream of the Universal Declaration.

For this was the gift of our ancestors, to help us avoid ever having to go through what they went through.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the UN General Assembly at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris three years after the end of World War II. It was the product of 18 months’ work by a drafting committee, with members and advisers from all across the world, and – in the words of one of its principal architects, René Cassin – "at the end of one hundred sessions of elevated, often impassioned discussion, was adopted in the form of 30 articles on December 10, 1948."

Read 632 times

Related items

  • Anniversary of the Russian Invasion of Georgia

    ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE

    Fourteen years ago today, Russia invaded the sovereign nation of Georgia.  As we have done since 2008, we remember those killed and injured by Russian forces.  For decades, the citizens of Georgia in Abkhazia and South Ossetia have lived under Russian occupation and tens of thousands have been displaced, persecuted, and impoverished.  Lives and livelihoods have been taken from them.

    This year, Russia’s unprovoked further invasion of Ukraine underscores the need for the people of Georgia and Ukraine to stand together in solidarity.  The people of Georgia know all too well how Russia’s aggressive actions, including disinformation, so-called “borderization,” and mass displacement cause untold hardships and destruction.

    Russia must be accountable to the commitments it made under the 2008 ceasefire – withdrawing its forces to pre-conflict positions and allowing unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.  It also must reverse its recognition of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.  This is essential for hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons to be able to return to their homes safely and with dignity.

    We remain steadfast in our support for the people of Georgia as they seek to protect their sovereignty and territorial integrity and find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

    PRESS STATEMENT 
  • Georgia should ensure effective implementation of the anti-discrimination legislation and improve protection of human rights in the fields of labour and the environment

    Strasbourg, 15 July 2022 - The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, published today the report following her visit to Georgia in February 2022, with recommendations on combating discrimination against LGBTI people and those belonging to religious minorities, as well as protecting human rights in the fields of labour and the environment.

    To ensure that LGBTI people and persons belonging to religious minorities live free from violence and discrimination, the Commissioner calls on the authorities to address the inadequate implementation of legal standards and the persistent deficiencies in combating impunity for hate crimes and incitement to violence, and to remove the discriminatory barriers to the enjoyment of their rights.

    The Commissioner notes that LGBTI people remain affected by instances of hate crime and pervasive discrimination in Georgia. She calls on the authorities to step up efforts to combat impunity for human rights violations against them and stresses that raising awareness among the public and training relevant categories of professionals on the importance of their role in promoting equality, dignity and non-discrimination should be a priority. She adds that hate speech against LGBTI people in the public sphere is an issue of concern and that an appropriate response to hate speech, including when voiced by officials, religious and community leaders and media professionals, is needed through an effective use of law enforcement channels and other mechanisms, such as prevention, monitoring, self-regulation, and counter-speech. In light of repeated occurrence of LGBTI people having been denied their right to peaceful assembly, the Commissioner stresses that authorities should adopt comprehensive measures enabling LGBTI people to freely express their views and assemble. Regarding transgender people, the authorities should facilitate legal gender recognition without invasive medical requirements and in a quick, transparent, and accessible manner.

    As regards religious minorities, the Commissioner urges the authorities to ensure effective investigation, prosecution, and dissuasive and proportionate sanctioning for hate crimes committed on the grounds of religion and to remove discriminatory barriers in accessing places of worship and in regulating tax and religious property matters. “An open dialogue with all religious communities should be established”, she stated. To support this dialogue, she underlines the need for a meaningful partnership between competent authorities and religious denominations, for changes to the relevant regulations and for continuous training and awareness raising activities targeting officials and the general public. In addition, the Commissioner notes that the authorities should pursue their efforts in eliminating religious biases and stereotyping from school textbooks.

    Noting that a decade of deregulation and the abolishment of the labour Inspectorate in 2006 led to a significant deterioration in the protection of labour rights in Georgia, the Commissioner welcomes the recent comprehensive legal and institutional reforms and urges the authorities to close the remaining legislative gaps by establishing a minimum wage compliant with international standards, by ensuring equal access to parental leave, and by developing clear guidelines on the duration and compensation for overtime work. “It is now important to ensure a full implementation of the labour standards, including the anti-discrimination provisions”, she stated. To this end, it is crucial to provide the Labour Inspectorate with sufficient and adequately trained human resources and an appropriate budget. While welcoming recent progress in the reduction of workplace accidents, the Commissioner calls on the authorities to further improve occupational safety at the workplace. She also recommends promoting and supporting diversity and equality at work, including with regard to the integration of persons with disabilities. The Commissioner further recommends that the authorities address the gender pay gap and gender stereotypes in employment, to continuously raise awareness about sexual harassment, ways to report it and available remedies, as well as to take resolute action to address child labour and prevent and combat child trafficking.

    As regards human rights and the environment, the Commissioner calls on the authorities to strengthen the implementation of the existing national legal framework, to guarantee public access to information and meaningful and transparent public participation in environmental decision-making processes at various levels of government, as well as to improve air quality and the tracking of air pollution. They should also develop and implement preventive measures to reduce the risk of environmental disasters and to ensure protection of the rights of people displaced by such disasters or owing to climate change. The authorities should also provide a safe and enabling environment for environmental human rights defenders and activists and support their work

     

     

  • Georgia and the Kingdom of Spain are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia posted a tweet on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Spain. “As we share enduring bonds of friendship, may our ties grow stronger for the benefit of our nations!” – says the tweet of the Georgian MFA.
    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Spain publishes a statement regarding the anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. According to the statement, the Spanish government is committed to further strengthening its relations with Georgia both in a bilateral format and within the European Union.
    "The Spanish government supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and wishes the Georgian people peace, progress and prosperity" – reads  the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Spain.

  • Joint Declaration from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and Portugal

    On the 23rd of May 2022, we celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Georgia and Portugal. Throughout these three decades, our countries have much benefited from fruitful bilateral relations, grounded on common interests and the shared values such as freedom, respect for human rights, democracy, the rule of law, effective multilateralism and the rules-based international order, also translated into enhanced people-to-people contacts.
    We cherish our friendship, through which Georgia became closer to the Lusophone world, namely, by acquiring status of associated observer at the CPLP. The fruitful activity of the Portuguese Center “Camoes” at Tbilisi State University is another concrete demonstration of aspiration for the closer ties to the Lusophone culture. 
    Based upon the value-based partnership, Portugal reaffirms its strong support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, the non-recognition policy and the peaceful conflict resolution efforts by the Government of Georgia.
    The recent opportunity of keeping bilateral political dialogue vibrant between our countries has been the meeting of the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Marrakesh on the 11th of May.
    Cooperation and friendship between Georgia and Portugal are not limited to the bilateral level. Our two countries have a long history of mutual support in international organisations, mainly in the realm of the United Nations. Cooperation in the frames of the EU is enhancing, in both bilateral and multilateral domains, especially against the backdrop of current geopolitical changes and Georgia’s EU membership aspirations. Georgia’s EU membership application is recognised as country’s legitimate right to choose its own destiny. We remain committed to supporting a strong, independent and prosperous Georgia in its way towards alignment with the EU. Georgia is one of the NATO’s closest partners and Portugal supports Georgia’s reform efforts and its goal of Euro-Atlantic integration.
    The special occasion that we now commemorate represents not only a reason to celebrate, but a valuable moment to show our mutual commitment to broadening and deepening our bilateral agenda in the political, economic and cultural domains, for the benefit of our peoples and the prosperity of our countries.

    MFA of Georgia

  • Georgia and the Italian Republic celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations

    11 May 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Georgia and the Italian Republic.
    Throughout this not very short space of time, relations between the two countries continue to be based on key democratic principles and values being an essential prerequisite for further deepening the existing partnership and taking it to a qualitatively higher level.
    Georgia and Italy enjoy close and fruitful cooperation, including in priority areas such as trade and economy, defence and security, European and Euro-Atlantic integration, innovations, education and culture.
    Given the current economic challenges and opportunities, special attention needs to be paid to the great potential for economic cooperation between the two countries. Italy is one of Georgia's important trading partners - in 2021 trade turnover increased by 58%. The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the EU paves the way for new opportunities for bilateral cooperation. An increasingly greater number of Italian entrepreneurs and companies are interested in Georgia's investment potential.
    In the face of the country's occupation and growing foreign threats, Georgia attaches particular importance to defence and security cooperation with Italy. Italy is actively involved in the development of the Georgian School of Defense Institution Building (DIBS) and is also interested in cooperating with Georgia in the field of military industry. It should be noted that Italy strongly supports the strengthening of Georgia's national security and the restoration of its territorial integrity. The clear position of Italy, as well as other European partners, is particularly important in terms of strengthening Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic integration, de-occupation of the country and non-recognition policy of the occupied territories.
    The introduction and development of cultural and educational projects also remains an important priority in the relations between Italy and Georgia. Cooperation in the field of education is quite diverse and includes scholarships regularly announced by the Italian Embassy, the Innovation Agreement between GITA and the Italian agency - COTEC, Cooperation between the LEPL International Education Center and the Italian Conference of Rectors (CRUI), which provides Georgian students with the opportunity to study in Italian higher education institutions.
    Cultural programs are also being implemented successfully, including in the field of cultural heritage and archeology. Numerous concerts, exhibitions, film shows, conferences on various topics are held in different cities of Italy and Tbilisi. Georgia regularly participates in the Venice Biennale, which is the most important international exhibition in the field of architecture and design.
    It should be noted that on May 11, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, the Italian Embassy in cooperation with the Georgian National Museum is holding an exhibition in Tbilisi dedicated to the unique material about 17th century Georgia created by Italian missionary and traveler Christopher Castelli. A special book of sketches and maps covering the same period will also be presented. Work is underway to issue a jubilee postage stamp.

    MFA of Georgia

Business News

Silk Road Tbilisi Forum 2015 has started

Silk Road Tbilisi Forum 2015 has started

Silk Road Tbilisi 2015 forum started today. Following the success of the inaugural Routes Silk Road...

Agreement between SES and GEE

Agreement between SES and GEE

A new multi-year agreement was signed between worldwide satellite operator SES and Global Eagle Ente...

Visa free regime to impose for 15 February

Visa free regime to impose for 15 February

The visa regime imposed by Georgia to Iran has been cancelled for 15 February,” -the Deputy Ambassad...

Session of Economic Council was held under the leadership of Prime Minister

Session of Economic Council was held under the leadership of Prime Minister

Plan of acceleration of infrastructural projects, financial support scheme for startups and activiti...

MOST READ

« September 2022 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    

About

The News Agency,
NEWSDAY.GE is
a part of STARVISION
Media Group.
It made its first
appearance on the Internet..More

 

Contact

NEWSDAY Ltd.
Lechkhumi street.43

Georgia,Tbilisi

Phone: (+995 32) 257 91 11
E-mail: avtandil@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Social Media