1 March 201818:19

Remarks by Director of the Department for Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights and Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Anatoly Viktorov at the opening of the high-level panel discussion on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 25th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, Geneva, February 28, 2018


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Mr President,

Unfortunately, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was unable to take part in the panel. I was instructed to convey a welcome address on his behalf.

Mr High Commissioner,


Ladies and gentlemen,

We are here today to mark two important dates - the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 25th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

The importance of these documents for the promotion and protection of human rights cannot be overestimated. Almost 70 years ago, after the end of the most tragic period in the history of the 20th century - the Second World War, at the dawn of the formation of the United Nations and a new world order based on international law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was developed. Of course, this process caused fierce discussions. And today we still witness attempts to freely interpret the provisions of the Declaration. At the same time, it is extremely important that over 70 years, it has not lost its relevance and is a universal human rights guideline for the entire world community.

The World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 not only consolidated the indivisible, interdependent and mutually complementary nature of all categories of human rights and formalised a new stage in the development of international law doctrine in this field, but it also consolidated the positions of states from all regions of the world. Many modern universal human rights organisations emerged thanks to the Vienna Conference. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action are cited in virtually every UN resolution on human rights.

This year, we are celebrating the anniversary of the adoption of these two documents. This is an important reason that we can and must use for the benefit of every person and the entire humanity. Countries will have a good opportunity to improve their work in the field of human rights, while international organisations will be able to draw attention to human rights, and civil society will have an opportunity to strengthen its constructive role in these processes.

We hope that these memorable dates will allow us not only to analyse achievements and identify problems that need to be resolved, but also to outline new goals and determine tactics and strategies for the near future to overcome new challenges.

The anniversaries of these declarations should also become a reason for reflection. It is necessary to jointly think about how to restore the authority and universal support for UN human rights activities. It is obvious that both the promotion of human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration and the work to achieve the goals of the Vienna Declaration will be effective only if they are implemented on equitable, mutually respectful and constructive cooperation between states. For this, it is necessary to work to unite the efforts of all interested parties.

And today, feeling the wide support of the entire world community, we hope that all interested parties, including states, international organisations, civil societies and expert community, will actively join the anniversary’s events.

I wish you all a fruitful and constructive discussion.

Thank you for your attention.

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