Human Rights Day: Statement by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union

Human Rights Day: Statement by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union

On Human Rights Day, the European Union joins the world in celebrating the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This landmark document laid the foundation for our global human rights system as well as national laws and international treaties protecting and promoting human rights, including the ECHR in Europe. It remains as valid and crucial today as it was 75 years ago.

Human rights transcend borders and cultures. They are inherent to every individual human being without distinction. While substantial progress has been achieved over the past 75 years, crises continue to multiply, and too often it is women, children and persons in vulnerable situations bearing the heaviest burden of the consequences of war and conflict.  

Respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights is essential for fostering justice and accountability, and to end impunity. This is one of the founding values and principles of the EU. Promoting universal respect for human rights is also a key priority of EU external action, on which we are steadfastly committed.

The EU will also continue to condemn human rights violations and abuses, breaches of international humanitarian law, discrimination, shrinking civic space and attacks on democracy and media freedom wherever they occur.

Together with the 75th year of UDHR, we also mark the 30th year of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and 25th year of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders acknowledging their crucial role as actors of positive change working for the promotion and realisation of human rights.

The UDHR remains more relevant than ever standing us in good stead for another 75 years and beyond as we apply its principles to meet the current challenges in our ever more digital world already grappling with the impacts of climate change.

It is our collective duty to uphold and advance the human rights of each and every person around the globe. As we celebrate this milestone, the European Union reaffirms its commitment to the UN Charter standing together with the United Nations and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as all multilateral and regional organisations, in advancing the full realisation human rights worldwide. In line with the objective of leaving no one behind, the EU also reaffirms its commitment to promoting a human rights-based approach to development cooperation.

Human rights are not mere words on paper; they are universally applicable legal norms. They are the foundation of peace and the avenue toward a more just, equal and inclusive society for today, tomorrow and generations to come.

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