As delivered by Denmark
It is a great pleasure to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries; Estonia, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway, Sweden and my own country Denmark.
Today we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the 25th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action. Both Declarations are great landmarks in the history of human rights. They represent hope and reaffirms the faith in human rights, and in the dignity and worth of the human person. Both documents are born out of the ashes of war. The Universal Declaration was a resolute response to the devastation and atrocities of the Second World War. The Vienna Declaration was adopted in the aftermath of the Cold War.
The drafters of these fundamental documents knew from personal experience that universal respect for human rights is decisive to ensure lasting peace and sustainable development worldwide. The passed seventy years have only proved the validity of this link. It is our responsibility to fulfil their aspirations.
We therefore welcome this debate today. It is an opportunity to reflect on the achievements we have made together over the last 70 years. It is an opportunity to recall the universality, indivisibility, interrelatedness and interdependence of human rights. It is an opportunity to remember their fundamental importance for our common future.
Much has been achieved since 1948. The very existence of the Human Rights Council is a proof of progress. The international legal framework for human rights has expanded significantly. But human rights are much more than discussions in a conference room or words on a paper. Human rights must be present in the everyday life of each individual.
However, violations and abuses of human rights remains the reality for millions of people. Women and girls - half of the world’s population - continue to be subject to widespread suppression and discrimination just because of their gender. Courageous individuals, who stand up for human rights are being persecuted and attacked, and extrajudicial killings and torture continue to be committed.
As long as one single individual is deprived of his or her human rights and dignity, we must not rest. We therefore strongly call on all states to stay true to the promise of the Universal Declaration. And to continue a steadfast effort to respect, protect and fulfil the full enjoyment of human rights for all humans.