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Today is “Human Rights Day”

Excerpts from Statement

by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay

Since the United Nations was established over 60 years ago, there have been dramatic advances in crafting and implementing a system of universal human rights – rights which are, under international law, applicable to each and every one of us: old and young, male and female, rich and poor, whoever we are and wherever we are from.

We know the names of some of those who changed human rights history: those who were in the vanguard of the struggle to abolish slavery, such as William Wilberforce; those who engineered major advances in women’s rights, such as Gloria Steinem, Huda Shaarawi and Simone de Beauvoir. We also know about those who tackled the injustice of colonialism such as Mahatma Gandhi, and those – like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Rigoberta Menchu – who campaigned to end institutionalized racism and discrimination against minorities and indigenous peoples.

But these inspirational figures could not have done what they did without the help of many others whose names we don’t know. Efforts to end slavery spanned 1,000 years, and still continue with adults and children being trafficked for sex and indentured labour. After a mammoth struggle that lasted more than 150 years, women have won the right to vote almost everywhere, but still lack many other fundamental rights.

We owe the progress we have made to the enormous efforts of hundreds of thousands of largely unsung heroes, known collectively as human rights defenders.

Women – half the world’s population – still face rampant discrimination in some societies, and more subtle versions in others. One of the most alarming of many depressing statistics on this issue, is that 70 percent of the 70-100 million children who are not attending school are girls.
Around 100 million people are forced into poverty each year because they have to pay for health care.

The more than 200 million migrants worldwide, and especially the irregular and undocumented migrants among them , face racism, xenophobia and other chronic forms of discrimination, in both developed and developing countries.

On this Human Rights Day, I call on Governments to acknowledge that criticism is not a crime, and to release all those people who have been detained for peacefully exercising their fundamental freedoms to defend democratic principles and human rights.

See www.themontserratreporter.com/features – for full statement

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Excerpts from Statement

by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay

Since the United Nations was established over 60 years ago, there have been dramatic advances in crafting and implementing a system of universal human rights – rights which are, under international law, applicable to each and every one of us: old and young, male and female, rich and poor, whoever we are and wherever we are from.

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We know the names of some of those who changed human rights history: those who were in the vanguard of the struggle to abolish slavery, such as William Wilberforce; those who engineered major advances in women’s rights, such as Gloria Steinem, Huda Shaarawi and Simone de Beauvoir. We also know about those who tackled the injustice of colonialism such as Mahatma Gandhi, and those – like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Rigoberta Menchu – who campaigned to end institutionalized racism and discrimination against minorities and indigenous peoples.

But these inspirational figures could not have done what they did without the help of many others whose names we don’t know. Efforts to end slavery spanned 1,000 years, and still continue with adults and children being trafficked for sex and indentured labour. After a mammoth struggle that lasted more than 150 years, women have won the right to vote almost everywhere, but still lack many other fundamental rights.

We owe the progress we have made to the enormous efforts of hundreds of thousands of largely unsung heroes, known collectively as human rights defenders.

Women – half the world’s population – still face rampant discrimination in some societies, and more subtle versions in others. One of the most alarming of many depressing statistics on this issue, is that 70 percent of the 70-100 million children who are not attending school are girls.
Around 100 million people are forced into poverty each year because they have to pay for health care.

The more than 200 million migrants worldwide, and especially the irregular and undocumented migrants among them , face racism, xenophobia and other chronic forms of discrimination, in both developed and developing countries.

On this Human Rights Day, I call on Governments to acknowledge that criticism is not a crime, and to release all those people who have been detained for peacefully exercising their fundamental freedoms to defend democratic principles and human rights.

See www.themontserratreporter.com/features – for full statement