Video statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein
12 march 2018
Dear Committee members,
The universality of all human rights is what binds humanity together, with all our differences, in the conviction that all human life is valuable. Everyone is equal in rights and dignity. It is this universality which has given the UDHR such deep resonance since 1948. No other document in history has been translated into as many languages, and in every one of them it brings people hope. It has been called the closest humanity has gotten to a global Constitution.
The Vienna Declarationtook this fundamental notion of universality a step further, by acknowledging the inseparability of all human rights. All States recognised that all human rights are "indivisible, interdependent and interrelated". The division of rights into two Covenants was a response to Cold War-era political pressures; it does not correspond to any sound logic.
Civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, and the right to developmentbuild on each other and advance together.Even if a person’s right to speak out and protest is recognised, she is not truly free if she is constrained by lack of education or inadequate living conditions. And even a wealthy person is not living well if he lives in fear of arbitrary detention by his government.
This joint celebration, by your two Committees, of this unity of vision is a strong message of our shared determination to uphold the UDHR. I thank you, and wish you productive sessions.