Guterres extols UN human rights declaration as global beacon

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at a news conference on Thursday, July 12, 2018, at the UN headquarters in New York. (Photo: UN/IANS)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday extolled the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a global beacon for dignity on the 70th anniversary of the text’s adoption.

“For 70 years, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been a global beacon — shining a light for dignity, equality and well-being … and bringing hope to dark places,” Guterres said in his message on Human Rights Day, which was designated to commemorate the adoption of the declaration.

He said the rights proclaimed in the declaration apply to everyone — no matter our race, belief, location or other distinction of any kind, Xinhua news agency reported.

In addition, the secretary-general called for honours for the human rights defenders risking their lives to protect people in the face of rising hatred, racism, intolerance and repression.

Picturing a reality of besieged human rights around the world, Guterres urged: “Now more than ever, our shared duty is clear: Let us stand up for human rights — for everyone, everywhere.”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly at its third session on December 10, 1948 as Resolution 217 in Paris, France. It now has become the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.

The text consists of 30 articles forbidding slavery and servitude, forced marriage, arbitrary arrest, and any interference with privacy and correspondence.

Although not legally binding, the 30 articles have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, economic transfers, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions, and other laws.

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