Human Rights Day Message

Human Rights Day Message

Today we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Sri Lanka considers this milestone as an opportune occasion to reaffirm the intrinsic value of human rights for all, as enshrined in the UDHR.

The UDHR recognizes the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all human beings. The UDHR has inspired more than 70 international human rights treaties and declarations, which together has empowered women, children, migrants, disabled people, minorities and others identified as requiring protection and addresses everyday rights such as the right to life, equality before the law, freedom of expression, the right to work, social security and education. All 193 member states of the UN have accepted the Declaration.

Subsequently, in 1993 the adoption of the VDPA advanced efforts to uphold the principles of the UN Charter and the UDHR. It emphasizes that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and reaffirms the right to development as an integral part of fundamental human rights. It elevates the role of economic, social and cultural rights.

The Government of Sri Lanka continues its constructive engagement with the UN through regular interactions with its established human rights mechanisms. Human rights are enshrined in our constitution and these rights are being progressively protected and enhanced in dialogue with Treaty Bodies. Sri Lanka is a State Party to the 09 key Human Rights Conventions. As part of this engagement Sri Lanka has voluntarily engaged with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

The work of the Human Rights Council (HRC) should be guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity and constructive dialogue and cooperation with Member States. Intrusive and polarizing initiatives that goes beyond the mandate conferred on the Council by UNGA resolution 60/251 are unproductive.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) represents a beacon of hope and aspiration for all. It is therefore of concern, that as we commemorate this important occasion of the 75th anniversary, we continue to be reminded of the need to avoid politicization of human rights and double standards. There is an urgent need for global solidarity and meaningful, genuine dialogue, particularly in the context of the current global crisis, in the Gaza.

On this Human Rights Day, I reaffirm Sri Lanka’s commitment to continue to promote and protect human rights and reconciliation in a spirit of cooperation and constructive dialogue as well as in line with the human rights obligations voluntarily undertaken.

Ali Sabry, PC
Minister of Foreign Affairs
10 December 2023

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