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Speech by H.E. Mr. Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli, President of the Human Rights Council,made at the 24th Meeting of the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies


2 March 2017

Mr. President of the Community of Democracies,

Madame Secretary General of the Community of Democracies,

Distinguished members of the Community of Democracies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great honour and a pleasure to welcome you to the twenty-fourth meeting of the Governing Council.

Since my election as President of the Human Rights Council, I have been immensely proud yet humbled to be stepping into this esteemed position. Throughout my many years of diplomatic experience, I have witnessed first-hand how human rights play a prominent role in all aspects of our lives, and I have seen the positive effects of putting human rights first. In this sense, it is important to emphasize that democracy constitutes an inseparable element in the advancement of human rights.

The current situation around the world, especially in terms of human rights, is deeply concerning, with thousands of people suffering injustices daily. Cases of violence, discrimination, inequality, and grave violations of human rights are affecting the lives of people in all corners of the globe. These are problems that simply cannot be solved through domestic, or even regional efforts, but are rather those which require concerted efforts by the international community as a whole.  It is thus essential that our focus and our efforts remain steadfast on the pre-eminence of human rights in all circumstances, with a good partner: democracy and respect for its institutions.  

And the Community of Democracies play a fundamental role in this, which is why my country, El Salvador, and all who are meeting here, collectively believe in the need to more democracy, participation and development.

If democracies don’t exist, the people become frustrated in terms of identity, culture, in their processes and perspectives towards achieving the common good. Democracy includes everyone and is for everyone, without exclusions.

To achieve this, pragmatic action is needed, as well as dialogue and cooperation, not just between democratic states but among everyone. Through cooperation and dialogue, we can build consensus and collectively confront our challenges. Democracy not only contributes to but strengthens this dialogue.

In the current difficult international context, we are facing a multitude of challenges. It is thus important to maintain and strengthen our genuine cooperation and constructive dialogue.

In this regard, the exchange of ideas and creation of synergies on issues of common interest to the Human Rights Council and the Community of Democracies is greatly important. We must continue working with optimism and determination in order to fulfil our mandate to promote and protect human rights, for the good of all humanity.

It was a pleasure to address you this morning, at the beginning of what I am sure will be a productive twenty-fourth meeting of the Governing Council.

Thank you.