Statement by High Commissioner Louise Arbour on the occasion of Human Rights Day 10 December 2007

Louise ArbourUN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, issued the following statement to mark Human Rights Day which is commemorated on 10 December.

As we jointly celebrate today not only Human Rights Day but also launch the year-long campaign leading to the 60 th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we have cause to celebrate the accomplishments made, since 1948, on the road to ensuring fundamental freedoms for each one of us.

The Universal Declaration and its core values- inherent human dignity, justice, non-discrimination, equality, fairness and universality- apply to everyone, everywhere, always.

In all parts of the world, individuals, groups, organisations, and Governments have striven to transform into reality the promises contained in the Universal Declaration. Many have died in the pursuit of these ideals.

Today is also the day to reflect upon our individual and collective failures to stand up against violence, racism, xenophobia, torture, repression of unpopular views and injustices of all sorts.

In today's growing divisions between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the vulnerable, the technologically advanced and the illiterate, the aggressors and the victims, the relevance of the Declaration and the universality of the enshrined rights need to be loudly reaffirmed.

In the course of this year, unprecedented efforts must be made to ensure that every person in the world can rely on just laws for his or her protection. In advancing all human rights for all, we will move towards the greatest fulfilment of human potential, a promise which is at the heart of the Universal Declaration.

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Louise Arbour,
High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Statement for Human Rights Day 2007
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Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

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The history of Human Rights Day

Council of Europe