Human Rights Day Statement
UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis
Today we commemorate the 60th anniversary, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Seldom has a document exerted such a moral, political and legal influence, well beyond the aspirations of its original drafters. Adopted by UN Member States as a consensual and global normative framework for the promotion and protection of human rights, Member States aptly proclaimed it as the “common standard of achievement for all people and all nations.”
A great deal has been achieved since the Declaration was adopted in 1948, particularly in terms of standard-setting. However, we still have a long way to go to ensure the realization of “all human rights for all.”
This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of UNDP’s first human rights policy – Integrating Human Rights with Sustainable Human Development. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the work done by our offices in further promoting human rights across regions over the last decade. To highlight some of our activities in this area, UNDP is launching a news brief “Human Rights for Development.” This bi-annual publication describes our commitment to and involvement in working on human rights for development at the country level. From Zambia, Bahrain and Nepal, to Ecuador and Kazakhstan, UNDP is responding to requests from national partners to build institutional capacity for implementing human rights commitments.
As a development organization, a particularly significant characteristic of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights is reflected in the shared vision that respect for economic, social and cultural rights is as critical for a life in dignity as respect for civil and political rights. It is, therefore, critical to recognize that all human rights are interdependent and interrelated and provide for the ‘minimum rules for a life in dignity’. For this to be a reality, excluded people and groups, particularly women, indigenous peoples and minorities should be empowered to assume their equal and rightful place in society, and all Member States need to take up their responsibilities to protect fundamental freedoms.
On this Day, UNDP calls on all to redouble efforts to more effectively focus on the root causes of development challenges, on the dynamics of exclusion and discrimination, and on the institutions and processes of accountability and redress. As the great visionary Amartya Sen has stressed “no concept of poverty can be satisfactory if it doesn’t take note of the disadvantages that arise from being excluded from shared opportunities enjoyed by others”. Let us ensure that the core values and principles, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, continues to inform our development activities and so improve the lives of the people we serve.