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Opening Remarks for the ONU Art Foundation World Human Rights Concert

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11 December 2021

H.E. Ms. Nazhat Shameem Khan, President of the Human Rights Council

11 December 2021

Excellencies,
Dear colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Bula Vinaka and Good Day.

It is my great honour to speak to you all on the occasion of the World Human Rights Concert, held annually under the beautiful Barcelo dome of the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room.

Human Rights Day provides all of us the opportunity to commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, recognize the progress the world has made in promoting and protecting human rights and reflect on the challenges remaining to the full realisation of all human rights And tonight’s event  And tonight’s  event is the occasion to celebrate Human Rights Day, and what better way to celebrate than through the powerful music of the renowned pianist Mr. Grigory Sokolov.

The theme of this year’s Human Rights Day, equality, reflects the importance of the concept to the rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration.

The very first Article of the Declaration affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights; the seventh Article states that all are equal before the law; and the twenty-third Article provides for equal pay for equal work.

Additionally, equality, when it is not explicitly mentioned, is an underlying principle of many of the other Articles in the Declaration. We can see this in Article 2’s language entitling everyone to the rights and freedoms set forth in the UDHR; Article 4’s prohibition on slavery and servitude; and Article 21’s provision that everyone has the right to take part in the government of their countries, among many others.

Of course, equality is just as relevant today as it was at the time of the adoption of the Universal Declaration in 1948. Indeed, as the world begins to consider how to emerge from the pandemic in a manner that promotes and protects the human rights of all, we must ensure that our efforts to build back better address the vulnerabilities of all persons, including by providing that all populations enjoy the benefits of vaccines and medicines and that policies to reinvigorate economies assist all equally.

Excellencies,
Dear colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

As you enjoy the musical artistry of Mr. Sokolov, I invite you all to reflect on the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the progress made toward, and challenges remaining to, the full realisation of the full enjoyment of the human rights by all and the essential role equality plays in our efforts to promote and protect human rights. 

Vinaka vakalevu and I thank you.

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