Human Rights in Tight Corner

Human Rights in Tight CornerHuman Rights in Tight Corner

The world is sliding back on human rights and its principles are under attack in all corners of the globe, the top United Nations rights official warned on Tuesday, urging people everywhere to show “fierce and passionate commitment” in defending them.

In a hard-hitting speech marking the 25th anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights that underscored the “universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated” nature of human rights, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said a quarter century on, the world seemed instead to be “headed in another direction,” UN News reported.

At the 1993 Conference, 171 states adopted the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, to strengthen human rights around the world. It was widely viewed as the blueprint for rights in the post-Cold-War era.

  Imminent Threat

Addressing the conference on Tuesday, he said there was a drift “backwards, to an era when racists and xenophobes deliberately enflamed hatred and discrimination among the public, while carefully cloaking themselves in the guise of democracy and the rule of law.”

He cautioned that particularly in Europe, ethno-populist parties are on the rise in many countries, fueling hatred and division. Once in power, these parties were deliberately spreading “distorted and false views” of migrants and human rights activists.

“Almost everywhere, across Europe the hatred they direct at migrants has infiltrated the mainstream parties and skewed the political landscape toward greater violence and suffering,” said Zeid.

Noting the threats against human rights around the world, which were no longer treated as “a priority” but instead as “a pariah”, he called on everyone to stand up for what the Vienna Declaration really represents.

“There is no time to lose. Let this be a turning point, so that the Vienna Declaration can stand proud—not as a decaying museum piece, but as the flag-bearer for a resurgent movement to build peace and progress,” he said.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints