UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam M. Isaczai’s speech at the conference devoted to Human Rights Day

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Colleagues and friends,

It is my pleasure to participate in the commemoration event of the Human Rights Day and to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I would like to thank the Ombudsperson of the Republic of Azerbaijan for organising this event and inviting me to speak on this important occasion.

Every year on 10 December, the international community commemorates the Human Rights Day, the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

This year, the commemoration of the Human Rights Day also marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration, a milestone document in the history of human rights that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being.

The Universal Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

The principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration are as relevant today as they were in 1948.

These principles call us to stand up for our own rights and those of others and to uphold the rights that protect us all.

Over the past 70 years, the concept of human rights sets out in the Universal Declaration has had a revolutionary impact. It has permeated policies and constitutions, from the global level to national and regional frameworks

The Universal Declaration has unleashed the power of women’s full participation in societies; it has spurred the fight against racism, xenophobia and intolerance, and it has uplifted the dignity of millions of people and laid the foundation for a more just world.

The Universal Declaration has played a significant role in the development of modern international human rights law and human rights movement,important international human rights treaties and it continues to inspire new human rights instruments.

However, we still have a long way to go before respect for human rights is truly universal. Many people around the world still suffer from abuse of their rights.

As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet noted, “[p]eople are increasingly fearful of the great changes our world is experiencing. And it is precisely at times of turmoil and uncertainty that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can guide us.”

The 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration is also a good opportunity to reflect upon Azerbaijan’s engagement with UN human rights system.

Over the last two decades, Azerbaijan has ratified 8 out of the 9 UN core international human rights treaties.

Azerbaijan has been active in preparing and submitting regular reports to relevant UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies as part of its reporting obligations.

Since 2012, Azerbaijan has extended a standing invitation to UN special procedure mandate holders.

  1. Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health May 2012 
  2. Special Rapporteur on Violence against women Nov 2013
  3. Special Rapporteur on the Human rights of IDPs Aug 2014
  4. Members of Working Group on Business and Human rights
  5. Members of Working on Arbitrary Detention May 2016
  6. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders September 2016.

This is an excellent example of Azerbaijan active engagement with Human Rights bodies.

This year, Azerbaijan went through the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, and accepted 179 of the 259 recommendations and took note of the 66 recommendations.

The UN stands ready to work and assist Azerbaijan on the implementation of the UPR recommendations and those issued by the UN Treaty Bodies.

Implementation of these recommendations on Azerbaijan will be central to further improvement of human rights situation in the country.

I would also like to take this opportunity to announce that the UN Office in Azerbaijan will be organizing an exhibition to mark the Human Rights Day and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration.

The Exhibition will highlight what the Universal Declaration means for people in their everyday life and how it empowers us all by establishing the equal dignity and worth of every person.

The opening ceremony will take place on Monday, 10 December 2018, between 11:00-12:00 a.m., at the Museum Centre of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan (Address: 49 Neftchiler Avenue). Following the opening ceremony, the Exhibition will be open for visitors until 12 December 2018.

Thank you for your attention.

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