According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, human rights are essential to addressing global issues, and today’s “difficult circumstances” emphasise the need for a renewed commitment to them.
“Human rights are the foundation for human dignity, and the cornerstone of peaceful, inclusive, fair, equal and prosperous societies,” said Mr. Guterres. “They are a unifying force and a rallying cry. They reflect the most fundamental thing we share – our common humanity.”
Unprecedented interrelated difficulties
According to the UN Secretary General, the world is today dealing with unprecedented and connected threats to human rights, such as rising hunger and poverty, dwindling public space, and a “grave decrease” in press freedom and journalistic safety.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised levels of violence against women and girls, while faith in institutions is waning overall, especially among young people.
The UN head went on to say that racism, intolerance, and prejudice are pervasive and that what he called “the triple planetary crises” of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution is creating new problems for human rights.
Revive international commitment
And we are just starting to understand the danger that some new technologies bring to human rights, he continued. The devotion to all human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political, and social—needs to be rekindled in these hard times.
Mr. Guterres recalled that he issued a Call to Action two years prior that places human rights at the forefront of answers to the problems the international community faces.
The Our Common Agenda report, which calls for a refreshed social compact based on human rights, further reflects this vision.
The existence of all human rights
He said that next year’s 75th anniversary of the historic Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be a catalyst for action.
“I urge Member States, civil society, the private sector and others to put human rights at the heart of efforts to reverse today’s damaging trends,” he said.
“On this Human Rights Day, we reaffirm the universality and indivisibility of all rights, as we stand up for human rights for all.”