Human Rights ‘Foundation for Human Dignity, Cornerstone of Peaceful, Prosperous Societies’, Secretary-General Says, Marking International Day

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for Human Rights Day, observed on 10 December:

The world is facing unprecedented and interlocking challenges to human rights.  Hunger and poverty are increasing — an affront to the economic and social rights of hundreds of millions of people.

Civic space is shrinking.  Media freedom and the safety of journalists are in dangerous decline in almost every region of the world.  Trust in institutions is evaporating, especially among young people.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased levels of violence against women and girls.  Racism, intolerance and discrimination are running rampant.  New human rights challenges are emerging from the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.  And we are only beginning to grasp the threat posed to human rights by some new technologies.

These trying times call for a reignition of our commitment to all human rights — civil, cultural, economic, political and social.  The Call to Action I launched in 2020 positions human rights at the centre of solutions to the challenges we face.  This vision is reflected in my report on Our Common Agenda, which calls for a renewed social contract, anchored in human rights.

The seventy-fifth anniversary of the landmark Universal Declaration on Human Rights next year must be an opportunity for action.  I urge Member States, civil society, the private sector and others to put human rights at the heart of efforts to reverse today’s damaging trends.

Human rights are the foundation for human dignity, and the cornerstone of peaceful, inclusive, fair, equal and prosperous societies.  They are a unifying force and a rallying cry.  They reflect the most fundamental thing we share — our common humanity.  On this Human Rights Day, we reaffirm the universality and indivisibility of all rights, as we stand up for human rights for all.

For information media. Not an official record.