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

Published in Politics
Friday, 13 May 2022 12:44

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

Xinhua Commentary: Chinese military: determined defender of world peace

Published in CHINA
Monday, 02 August 2021 16:07

BEIJING, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- August 1 marks the 94th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). As the world undergoes profound changes unseen in a century, the PLA will safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests and never seek expansion or spheres of influence.

China's national defense aims to deter and resist aggression; to safeguard national political security, people's security, and social stability; to oppose and contain "Taiwan independence"; to crack down on proponents of separatist movements such as "Tibet independence" and the creation of "East Turkistan"; to safeguard national sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, and security; to protect China's maritime rights and interests; to safeguard China's security interests in outer space, electromagnetic space and cyberspace; to protect China's overseas interests, and to support sustainable development of the country.

The Chinese nation has always loved peace. Since the beginning of modern times, the Chinese have suffered from aggressions and wars, and have learned the value of peace and the pressing need for development. Therefore, China will never inflict such sufferings on any country.

Since its founding in 1949, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has never started any war or conflict. Since the introduction of reform and opening-up, China has been committed to promoting world peace, and has voluntarily downsized the PLA by over 4 million troops. China has grown from a poor and weak country to be the world's second-largest economy neither by receiving handouts nor by engaging in military expansion or colonial plunder.

Instead, it has developed through the hard work of its people and its efforts to maintain peace. China has made every effort to create favorable conditions for development through maintaining world peace and has equally endeavored to promote global peace through its own development. China sincerely hopes that all countries will choose the path of peaceful development and jointly prevent conflicts and wars.

China is committed to developing friendly cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence: mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. China respects the rights of all people to independently choose their own development path, and stands for the settlement of international disputes through equal dialogue, negotiation, and consultation.

China is opposed to interference in the internal affairs of others, abuse of the weak by the strong, and any attempt to impose one's will on others. China advocates partnerships rather than alliances and does not join any military bloc. It stands against aggression and expansion, and opposes arbitrary use or threat of arms.

The development of China's national defense aims to meet its rightful security needs and contribute to the growth of the world's peaceful forces. History proves and will continue to prove that China will never follow the beaten track of big powers in seeking hegemony. No matter how much it might develop, China will never threaten any country or seek any sphere of influence.

In the meantime, China has the resolve and ability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will never allow the secession of any part of its territory by anyone, any organization, or any political party by any means at any time.

The "Taiwan independence" separatist forces and their actions remain the gravest immediate threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the biggest barrier hindering the peaceful reunification of the country.

China makes no promise to renounce the use of force, and reserves the option of taking all necessary measures. This is by no means targeted at our compatriots in Taiwan but at the interference of external forces and the very small number of "Taiwan independence" separatists and their activities. The PLA will resolutely defeat anyone attempting to separate Taiwan from China and safeguard national unity at all costs.

 

Online conference dedicated to the 30th Anniversary of Independence of Turkmenistan and the declaration of 2021 as International Year of Peace and Trust was held in Tbilisi

Published in World
Wednesday, 10 March 2021 18:31

On March 10, 2021, the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia held an online conference dedicated to the 30th Anniversary of Independence of Turkmenistan and the declaration of 2021 as International Year of Peace and Trust

The representatives of Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations accredited to Georgia, Ministry Foreign Affairs of Georgia, academia, as well as representatives of Georgian media attended the conference.

It was noted that over the years of sovereign development, under the wise leadership of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the large-scale programmes and socio-economic, scientific and educational, social and political reforms have been successfully implemented to ensure the country's prosperity, for the happiness and well-being of the people.

During the conference, it was emphasized that the fact of the declaration of 2021, in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution adopted at the initiative of Turkmenistan, as the International Year of Peace and Trust, clearly confirmed the effective role of the creative foreign policy strategy implemented by Turkmenistan under the leadership of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in stimulating positive regional and global processes, strengthening a culture of peace and trust for the sake of sustainable development and progress on the planet.

A video on Turkmenistan’s political, economic and cultural achievements was also presented to the conference participants.

In downtown Tbilisi, a banner was installed in honor of the 25th Anniversary of Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan

Published in World
Wednesday, 02 December 2020 15:04

In honor of the 25th Anniversary of Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan, a banner «25th Anniversary of Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan. 2020 year - Turkmenistan-Home of Neutrality» was installed in downtown Tbilisi.

Thus, Georgia congratulated the people of Turkmenistan on the remarkable date. This is a clear example of manifestation of deep respect for the Turkmen people, great attention to significant events in the country.

The action will last until the end of the year.

 

В честь празднования 25-летия Постоянного Нейтралитета Туркменистана в центре Тбилиси установлен баннер «25-летие Постоянного Нейтралитета Туркменистана. 2020 год – Туркменистан – родина Нейтралитета».

Таким образом Грузия поздравила народ Туркменистана со знаменательной датой. Это наглядный пример проявления глубокого уважения к туркменскому народу, огромного внимания к значимым событиям в стране.

Акция продлится до конца года.

 

The Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia held an International online Conference dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan and the 75thAnniversary of the UN

Published in Society
Saturday, 03 October 2020 09:30

On October 2, 2020, the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia held an

International online Conference dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan and the 75thAnniversary of the UN.

The Conference was attended by representatives of Diplomatic missions and International Organizations accredited in Georgia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Georgian Technical University, Grigol Robakidze University, Georgian mass media.

Ambassador of Turkmenistan in Georgia Mr.Dovletmyrat Muratov, the UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia Dr.Sabine Machl,  President of Georgia Red Cross Society and the Governing Board Member of IFRC Ms.Natia Loladze, Head of Delegation  of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in South Caucasus Ms.Olga Dzhumaeva, Head of Delegation of International  Committee of  Red Cross (ICRC) in Georgia Ms. Severine Chappaz,

Director of the Center for History, Geopolitics and Economic Research of the Caucasus of the Georgian Technical University Mr.Nikoloz Metreveli, Executive Director of TV 24, Professor, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Political Scientist, Honored Journalist of Georgia Mr.Badri Nachkebia were addressed the conference.

Speakers congratulated Turkmen people on the significant date - 25th Anniversary of the Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan. They noted that having declared itself to be a neutral State, Turkmenistan adheres to the principles of good-neighbourliness, mutual respect, justice and equality and implements a foreign policy aimed at universal peace, security and well-being throughout the world. It was highlighted that Turkmenistan strongly believes in the future of the UN and will continue to strengthen and build up strategic partnership with this organization, thereby making its contribution to unlocking its inexhaustible potential in the interests of global peace, security and progress.

During the conference, it was also noted that another book of the President of Turkmenistan “Spiritual world of Turkmens” that has been published, will be interesting and useful to a wide readership.

Conference’s participants were shown a video dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of Turkmenistan’s Neutrality.

A video film is launched in the centre of Tbilisi in honour of the 25th Anniversary of Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan

Published in World
Monday, 23 March 2020 17:26

In honor of the 25th Anniversary of Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan, the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia has launched a demonstration of the video film dedicated to this important event. This film is displayed on a large monitor installed in the Tbilisi city centre, in front of the Tbilisi Concert Hall.

The video film demonstrates the cultural values, traditions and customs of Turkmenistan, as well as achievements in the fields of politics, economy, industry, agriculture, culture, art and sports.

As it is known, 2020 is declared in Turkmenistan as the Year of «Turkmenistan - Home of Neutrality». The slogan of 2020 is inseparably linked to humanistic principles, which are the basis of home and foreign policy of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov who has developed universal formula of cooperation with the world community, which fully complies with global progressive tendencies of human development.

Due to the new video film presented, the Georgian public, as well as guests of Tbilisi have the opportunity to learn more about Turkmenistan. 

Briefing dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan was held in Tbilisi

Published in Politics
Saturday, 18 January 2020 12:31

On January 17, 2020, Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia held the briefing dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan.

The briefing was attended by the representatives of «TV-24», publishing group «Georgian Business Consulting Group», news agency «News Day Georgia», newspapers of «Resonance», «Multinational Georgia», «Free Georgia» and other representatives of Georgian media.

Ambassador of Turkmenistan in Georgia Mr. Dovlet Muratov noted in his speech that legal status of neutrality is the highest expression of primordial peace-loving traditions of Turkmen nation and undoubtedly, is a phenomenon in the system of international law. Adoption of Special Resolution on Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan with unanimous support of 185 member countries of the UN on December 12, 1995, has become an important event in the world politics. Repeat adoption of this Resolution on June 3, 2015, as well as adoption of the Resolution by the UN General Assembly on declaration of December 12 as International Neutrality Day eloquently testifies to the importance of neutrality in modern conditions. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov considers neutrality as a mechanism for combining geopolitical interests, an important factor in ensuring regional stability and establishing a civilized dialogue on constructive bases.

The participants of briefing were informed that in Turkmenistan 2020 was declared as a year of «Turkmenistan - Home of Neutrality».

During the briefing, Georgian media representatives noted the great importance of the international conference «Turkmenistan and International Organizations: Cooperation for Peace and Development», successfully held on January 14, 2020 in Ashgabat, with the participation of the President of Turkmenistan, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan's permanent neutrality.

Representatives of the Georgian media expressed their gratitude to the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia for organizing and conducting the briefing and congratulated Turkmen people on the jubilee date. At the end of the event, guests were offered treats including Turkmen national dishes.

Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the 11th Anniversary of August 2008 Russia-Georgia War

Published in Politics
Thursday, 08 August 2019 11:18

7 August 2019 marks 11 years since the large-scale military invasionof the Russian Federation in Georgia and the illegal occupation of Georgia’s indivisible regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia.
 
The military aggression, committed 11 years ago in a blatant violation of the fundamental norms of international law, was an attempt to change the borders of the sovereign state forcibly that has constituted a serious threat to the region and European security system as whole.
 
The Russian Federation has still not implemented the EU mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and further violates the international obligations, despite the continuous calls of the international community. While showing the total disregard of the commitments undertaken by the Ceasefire Agreement on withdrawal of its troops from Georgia’s territory, Moscow is further enhancing its military presence on the ground and impedes creation of international security mechanisms in the occupied regions. 
 
Moreover, Russia is undertaking steps towards de-facto annexation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions along with the attempts to isolate the residents of the occupied territories from the rest of Georgia. With this aim, the Russian Federation continues installation of barbed wire fences and other artificial barriers, closure of so-called crossing points, restriction of freedom of movement and the practice of kidnapping and illegal detention of the local population, which constitute gross violations of the fundamental human rights and freedoms, and further aggravate already unbearable humanitarian and social-economic conditions of the conflict-affected people.
 
It is concerning that Georgians remained in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions are targets of oppression and discrimination on the ground of ethnicity, inter alia the prohibition of education in native Georgian language and insulting the dignity through enforcement to change their ethnic identity.
 
The cases of ethnically motivated torture and murder are further more alarming, which is vividly demonstrated by the facts of deprivation of life of Davit Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria and Archil Tatunashvili. The sense of impunity that surrounds these cases allowed for the death of Irakli Kvaratskhelia in illegal detention at the Russian military base deployed in occupied Abkhazia region.
 
It is particularly deplorable that hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees, expelled from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions as a result of multiple waves of ethnic cleansing, are still deprived of the possibility to return to their homes in safety and dignity.
 
Against this background, it is all the more evident that it is of utmost necessity that the EUMM enters the the occupied regions in full compliance with its mandate, and that the international human rights mechanisms are granted the unristricted access to Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. 
 
In response to these challenges, Georgia is unwaveringly pursuing the policy of peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict through negotiations and de-escalation efforts. Georgia has fully implemented the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and has on many occasions unilaterally reaffirmed its commitment of observing the non-use of force pledge, still awaiting the reciprocity from the Russian side. While the Russian Federation is deliberately trying to undermine the peace negotiations formats, Georgia continues its constructive engagement in the Geneva International Discussions and spares no effort to address the security and humanitarian problems of people affected by Russia’s illegal occupation. At the same times, the Government of Georgia is undertaking steps to ensure the reconciliation and confidence building between the communities torn away by war and the occupation line, which has been clearly demonstrated by the peace initiative “A Step to a Better Future”. 
 
Within the de-escalation efforts since 2012, specific steps have been undertaken to restore trade, economic and humanitarian relations with Russia, Georgia has made number of constructive decisions that however must be followed by relevant steps of Russia towards the conflict resolution.
 
The Georgian side highly values the international community’s firm support for its sovereignty and territorial integrity and contribution to the process of peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals to the international community to consolidate efforts in order to ensure the de-occupation of Georgia’s territories by Russia and the safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees.
 
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls upon the Russian Federation to fulfil its obligations undertaken by the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, respect Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders, reverse its illegal decision on recognition of the so-called independence of the occupied territories and undertake the relevant steps to settle the relations between Georgia and Russia with the aim to ensure the conflict resolution through dialogue, and peace in the region.  
 
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to use this opportunity and extend its deepest condolences to the families and relatives of the civilians and the soldiers who died heroically during the 2008 war.

EU-funded projects present their achievements to Georgian media to mark 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership

Published in Society
Thursday, 28 March 2019 11:53

On 27 March, EU-funded regional projects organised an informal gathering with leading media outlets in Georgia. The main purpose of this meeting was to discuss the tangible results and opportunities that the EU delivers to the citizens of Georgia through its regional programmes and to strengthen cooperation with journalists.

The event was dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership and Georgia was the first country to host such a media event.

At the event, the EU Cross Border Cooperation (CBC) Black Sea Programme presented the newly introduced, innovative waste management practices in the Georgian city of Kutaisi. This environmental programme brings together the efforts of Georgian, Moldovan and Armenian local authorities, NGOs, scientists and activists, with the aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste in rivers.

The Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation project (EaP TC) presented its initiatives on cultural and economic cooperation between Georgia and Azerbaijan and Georgia and Armenia.

In addition, the EU-funded programme Mayors for Economic Growth showcased the best practices of two Georgian municipalities, Gori and Bolnisi, on how to use EU funds to support agribusiness and tourism development in the regions.

The EU framework programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020, also presented its activities in Georgia, including the CURE project, aimed at finding solutions for asthmatic diseases. Beneficiaries of the Erasmus+ programme, which offers opportunities to Georgian youth to study in the EU, shared their experiences.

The event was attended by several ‘Young European Ambassadors’ (YEAs) from Georgia. They presented the initiative and explained how YEAs foster cooperation and sustainable links between young people in Georgia and youth organisations from the EU and its Eastern partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

Find out more

EU CBC Black Sea Programme

Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation project

Mayors for Economic Growth

Horizon 2020

Erasmus+ programme

Young European Neighbours network – learn more and get involved

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."

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