Guterres, 2023 Term President of the UN Human Rights Council and Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the UN Geneva Office Ambassador Vaclav Balek, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk. , Gambia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Geneva Office and UN Human Rights Council Vice-President Ambassador Muhammadou Kah, Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, Turkey’s Permanent Representative to the UN Geneva Office Ambassador Güven Begeç and representatives of other countries and UN institutions.
In his speech, Guterres noted that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted 75 years ago and that this declaration for the first time defines the powers that apply to everyone and always.
Stating that Russia’s attacks on Ukraine triggered the biggest human rights violations experienced today, Guterres pointed out that this caused many deaths, destructions and displacements.
Guterres stated that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights regulates human rights such as the rights to life, freedom and security, equality before the law, freedom of expression, seeking asylum, health, education and so on.
“Unfortunately, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which should be our joint project, is abused and abused all too often. The Declaration is exploited for political gain and is often ignored by the same people. Some governments destroy it piecemeal, others use it as a wrecking ball. Public neglect and private disdain for human rights today is a warning sign. This is a moment to be on the right side of history. It is a moment for everyone, everywhere to stand up for human rights. To face the new challenges of today and tomorrow, we adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We must revitalize it and ensure its full implementation.”
Guterres emphasized that human rights cannot be ignored until solutions to other problems of the world are found, and that human rights are the solution to many problems, from the climate crisis to the abuse of technology.
Pointing out that the rights of refugees and immigrants should also be evaluated within the scope of human rights, Guterres underlined that this should be respected without discrimination.
“Extreme poverty and hunger are increasing for the first time in decades”
“Extreme poverty and hunger are on the rise for the first time in decades. About half of the world’s population, 3.5 billion people, live in the hottest spots on Earth due to climate change. These vast areas are rapidly becoming human rights disaster zones. and storms means that people are 15 times more likely to die from climate impacts. One hundred million people have been forced to flee their countries due to violence, conflict and human rights abuses. Anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bigotry, persecution of Christians, racism and white supremacist ideology is gaining momentum.” he said.
Emphasizing that there are also negativities in freedom of expression, Guterres pointed out that the number of media workers killed worldwide increased by 50 percent in the last year.
Guterres stated that the misuse of new technologies can threaten human rights at an unimaginable level, noting that future generations may inherit a world that cannot be protected from misinformation, disinformation and lies.
Emphasizing the need to pay attention to the lessons learned from history, Guterres said, “We must protect and advance the global consensus around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and move into a new era of human rights for all.” he said.
“Human rights are the common language of the common humanity”
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Türk stated that human rights are “the common language of the common humanity”.
Türk said, “Human rights are about how we interact with each other as individuals within societies, between countries, in our environment and in the world. Human rights are a force to be reckoned with, not because it serves the interests of the powerful, but because it captures the imagination of the weak.” said.
Emphasizing that they should aim to promote and implement the transformative 21st century vision of human rights, Türk said that this should be solution-oriented, unifying and directly addressing the need for justice of every human being.
The 52nd session, chaired by Ambassador Balek, Permanent Representative of Czech Republic to the UN Geneva Office, will end on 4 April.