“Discrimination lies at the root of many of the world’s most pressing human rights problems. No country is immune from this scourge. Eliminating discrimination is a duty of the highest order.”
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Human Rights Day 2009 on 10 December will focus on non-discrimination. “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. These first few famous words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights established 60 years ago the basic premise of international human rights law. Yet today, the fight against discrimination remains a daily struggle for millions around the globe.
“Our main objective is to help promote discrimination-free societies and a world of equal treatment for all,” says the High Commissioner who this year will mark Human Rights Day in South Africa.
She encourages people everywhere - including the UN family, governments, civil society, national human rights institutions, the media, educators, and individuals - to seize the opportunity of Human Rights Day 2009 to join hands to embrace diversity and end discrimination.
The realisation of all human rights - social, economic and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights – is hampered by discrimination. All too often, when faced with prejudice and discrimination, political leaders, governments and ordinary citizens are silent or complacent.
Yet everyone of us can make a difference. You are encouraged to celebrate Human Rights Day by advocating non-discrimination, organizing activities, raising awareness and reaching out to your local communities on 10 December and throughout 2010.