Statement by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the occasion of Human Rights Day
Today's events in the world make many among us anxious – even fearful. We see human beings in pain. Decent values under attack. Messages of hatred and intolerance – divisive visions of the world which drive increasing selfishness. Isolation. Scapegoating. Violence.
And in this toxic tide of hatred which is slowly rising in many societies, some of the deepest, most essential principles which safeguard peaceful societies risk being swept away.
We need to stop this. And I believe we can. We – you and I – can draw the line.
We don’t have to stand by when the haters drive wedges of hostility between communities. We can build bridges. We can raise our voices.
We can stand up for the values of decent, compassionate societies.
When someone is abused and afraid, we can step forward to help safeguard her rights. When a vulnerable person is bullied, we can step in.
Wherever there is discrimination and exploitation, we can speak up and let it be known that we oppose this, and seek to stop it. We can join others to publicly lobby for better leadership, better laws and greater respect for human dignity.
In the street. In school. At work. In public transport. In the voting booth. At home. On social media. In sports. Wherever we are, we can make a real difference in someone’s life – perhaps many lives.
Local steps make global movements. It starts with all of us taking practical steps to reaffirm our belief in humanity and equality.
The UN Human Rights Office works to promote and protect human rights around the world. We work for a world built by “we the peoples”, as the UN Charter says. A world of justice, equality and human rights.
Join our cause. Let us know what you're doing, and we will gather your stories, and amplify your voices.
It starts with each of us.
Stand up for someone's rights today.
10 December 2016