Statement of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Louise Arbour marks Human Rights Day 2007 and launches a year-long campaign leading to the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

During a press conference on Human Rights Day (10 December), Ms. Louise Arbour called on all national actors, governments, civil society and human rights institutions to take every opportunity during a year-long commemoration campaign to reaffirm their commitment to the values and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), a part of the United Nations Secretariat, is the global authority on human rights. It represents the world’s commitment to universal ideals of human dignity and has been given a unique mandate to promote and protect all human rights. Headquartered in Geneva, the Office is also present in some 40 countries. Headed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a position established by the General Assembly in 1993 to spearhead the United Nations’ human rights efforts, OHCHR offers leadership, works objectively, educates and takes action to empower individuals and assist States in upholding human rights.


The Statement

10 December 2007 — As we jointly celebrate today not only Human Rights Day but also launch the year-long campaign leading to the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we have cause to celebrate the accomplishments made, since 1948, on the road to ensuring fundamental freedoms for each one of us.

The Universal Declaration and its core values- inherent human dignity, justice, non-discrimination, equality, fairness and universality- apply to everyone, everywhere, always.

In all parts of the world, individuals, groups, organisations, and Governments have striven to transform into reality the promises contained in the Universal Declaration. Many have died in the pursuit of these ideals.

Today is also the day to reflect upon our individual and collective failures to stand up against violence, racism, xenophobia, torture, repression of unpopular views and injustices of all sorts.

In today’s growing divisions between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the vulnerable, the technologically advanced and the illiterate, the aggressors and the victims, the relevance of the Declaration and the universality of the enshrined rights need to be loudly reaffirmed.

In the course of this year, unprecedented efforts must be made to ensure that every person in the world can rely on just laws for his or her protection. In advancing all human rights for all, we will move towards the greatest fulfilment of human potential, a promise which is at the heart of the Universal Declaration.