10 December 2012

10 December marks International Human Rights Day

Today is Human Rights Day - a day to recognize the United Nations General Assembly's adoption, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

In honour of the day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement urging governments to commit to inclusive democratic governance. He noted that while the world has seen undeniable progress along the path to inclusion over the past century, far too many obstacles remain. He implored:

 "Everyone has the right to be heard and to shape the decisions that affect their community.  This right is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and fully integrated in international law, especially in article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. [...] International law is clear:  no matter who you are or where you live, your voice counts.  On this Day, let us unite to defend your right to make it heard."

This year, Human Rights Day falls on the same day that the European Union will receive the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights.

Furthermore, Ki-moon emphasized the importance of "freedom of expression and opinion, and peaceful assembly and association." He recognized that "vibrant civil society groups" are among "the keys to the well-being and functioning of any nation, and the United Nations deplores measures taken to suppress them." The right for access to information is an enabling right which makes these rights possible.