Thursday, 10 December 2015 18:13

UN marks Human Rights Day in Baghdad

Baghdad, 10 December 2015 - The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Iraq and the whole UN family in Iraq today commemorated Human Rights Day, in partnership with the Iraqi Council of Representatives. The theme for this year’s celebration is "Our Rights, Our Freedoms, Always”.

“Ordinary Iraqis have suffered, and continue to suffer from violations and abuses of their human rights. Thousands of Iraqi citizens are suffering from the crimes of the Daesh while millions have been displaced from their homes. Many continue to suffer from lack of security and lack of access to basic services,” the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq, Mr Gyorgy Busztin said. “International Human Rights Day reminds us how important it is for all Iraqi people to come together, to work to support national reconciliation, and to rebuild their country wherein all its people can fully and equally participate."

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed Resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.

This year's Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1965.

The two Covenants, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights, setting out the civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings.

“Human Rights are not bestowed by Governments – they are inherent to all human beings by right of birth,” Francesco Motta, Head of the UNAMI Human Rights Office and Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Iraq, stated. “Iraq is a signatory to both the ICCPR and the ICESCR – but despite this, so many Iraqis still suffer from lack of access to justice, lack of access to basic services, inequality and discrimination. This Human Rights Day, it is important that all Iraqis take action to ensure that their rights, as embodied in these two international instruments, become a reality for all Iraq’s people without discrimination," he added.

The gathering was also addressed by Dr. Salim al-Jabouri, Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives and Dr. Athmar al Shatri, Commissioner for the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights.

Special guest of the event was young artist Janaat Malooh Qais and children from the Iraqi Safe House Organisation, who performed a song and a short stage play.

"Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always." aims to promote and raise awareness of the two Covenants on their 50th anniversary. The year-long campaign revolves around the theme of rights and freedoms -- freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear -- which underpin the International Bill of Human Rights are as relevant today as they were when the Covenants were adopted 50 years ago. For more this year's theme and the year-long campaign, see the website of the UN Human Rights office.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNAMI

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