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“Solidarity: today, and every day” - International Human Solidarity Day – Sunday 20 December 2015

GENEVA (18 December 2015) – Message by the United Nations Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity, Ms. Virginia Dandan, to mark the International Human Solidarity Day, 20 December 2015.

“In this milestone year, the international community stood together and agreed on two historic documents—the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change—aimed at improving the lives of all peoples and at securing the very survival of humankind. Better known as the Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda maps out a path where no one will be left behind in economic and social development while the Paris Agreement is an accord among the nations of the world on how to address climate change and its irreversible consequences.   

We should all welcome and commend these two agreements for what they are—acts of solidarity among governments who worked to surmount and bridge their political differences for the sake of a brighter future for ourselves and for the generations to come.  From here onward, the goals expressed and promises made must translate into real action within countries guided by new policies that must be pursued with single-minded vigour.

It is encouraging how these two agreements are both country-driven, taking into account that each national situation is unique and particular. States whether large or small, are called upon to ensure that global development is fairly distributed and to uphold human rights standards everywhere for everyone, at all times. These agreements also bring solidarity to the test at the national level, where solidarity must first take root before it can be brought to bear at the international level. All actors, whether from the government to civil society including the private sector, are called upon in the spirit of solidarity, to actively participate and contribute their share in ensuring success in national initiatives to attain the goals and ambitions of these agreements.

International Human Solidarity Day is an auspicious occasion for us to reflect on how each one of us can indeed be counted on to take personal responsibility for our own actions in our daily lives. Poverty and inequality are concerns that the State for the most part, must address, but everyone can certainly show a bit more respect for another person’s opinion especially if that other person is a child, or of a different sex. It is the State that must ensure that gas emissions are curbed, but surely each one of us can find ways and means to reduce our own use of motor vehicles.

Today let us take that first step even if it is so small no one else will even notice, to do our share in behalf of, and in solidarity with each other. If we all took such small steps daily, and together as one, imagine how far our reach could go on to a brighter future.”

ENDS

Virginia Dandan (Philippines) was appointed Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity in June 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council. She is currently an independent specialist on human rights in development, focusing on the application of the normative content of economic, social and cultural rights. Ms. Dandan was a member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for twenty years (1990-2010) and served as its Chairperson for eight years (1998-2006). She continues her practise as a professional artist after retiring from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts where she was Dean of the faculty from 2000 to 2006. Ms. Dandan is independent from any government or organization and serves in her individual capacity. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Solidarity/Pages/IESolidarityIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests please contact Marissa Storozum (+41 22 917 9689) or write to iesolidarity@ohchr.org