The growing and interrelated challenges of our time can be solved by the application of human rights (2023)

I am very grateful to you for this invitation, which gives me the opportunity to accompany such a distinguished group of speakers and guests within the framework of this ancient and beautiful city.

This weekend we are examining the future and the situation of human rights in the world. We face a huge set of challenges.

Threats topeace and securitythey are moving the world away from jointly seeking solutions and back towards confrontation between hostile blocs. From the Russian Federation's invasion of Ukraine to serious acts of violence in Sudan, Myanmar and elsewhere, civilians are paying the price for the ambition of their leaders, who proceed with increasing impunity. elderly.

Climate change, pollution and biodiversity lossalready threaten the entire planet with massive human rights repercussions. And this situation will only get worse.

The rights ofwomen, many ethnic minorities and the LGBTIQ+ communitythey are called into question. Civil society and civic space are increasingly restricted.

And our human rights and personal security are threatened by thedigital challenges. Even if new technologies offer enormous potential for humanity, artificial intelligence and digital counterfeiting (deep fakes) foster polarization and, along with bioengineering, advance so fast that government regulations fail to keep pace.

Our trust in each other and in institutions deteriorates when we can no longer distinguish what is true from what is false and we do not even know exactly what is real and what is imaginary. Our ability to come together to find global solutions is undermined when social networks delineate sharply defined hostile camps, made up of people who do not watch or read the same media and are unable to reach beyond its boundaries to engage in dialogue with those who think the same way. another way.

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All of these challenges intersect and combine. By eroding human rights, they also undermine justice, sound and inclusive development, and peace.

But even if human rights are threatened,are still the solutionand guide us to overcome current conflicts.

This year we celebrate three very important anniversaries, the first and most important, of course, the 75th anniversary of one of the essential documents of contemporary history, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Declaration is an inspiring document, stipulating the universal rights that every person can enjoy simply because they are human beings.

Lasother twocommemorations to which I alluded are:

The 30th anniversary of the approval ofthe Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, which served as the basis for the creation of the OHCHR Office.

The Vienna Declaration and Program of Action also addressed the question of whether national and regional values ​​could somehow collide with international human rights standards and whether such values ​​should take precedence over these standards. But human rights are universal criteria and are designed for everyone. They are indivisible, interdependent and interrelated: the right to adequate food, for example, is best realized when there is freedom of expression and a wide-ranging civic and democratic space. All these elements work together to create a more resilient social fabric: this was another of the lessons confirmed in Vienna 30 years ago now.

And the third anniversary: ​​next December, we are going to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the approval of theUnited Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.This document recognized for the first time the specific right to defend human rights and stipulated the responsibilities of governments and companies to protect these activists.

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Given the challenges we now face, the coincidence of these anniversaries brings us a bit of clarity and hope. These ephemeris indicate the path to follow. A human rights-based strategy applied to any problem leads to more sustainable results and focuses efforts on what matters most: the impact on people.

A good starting point is participation. The more people involved in decision-making - people empowered to express their own opinions - the more effective and legitimate the solutions adopted will be, from the local to the international level.

For example, thepazLasting cannot be built solely with the efforts of men. Diverse views need to be expressed at the negotiating table. Where are the women? And the young people? And civil society? Societies that are based on participation and that have suitable judicial systems are not exempt from controversy. But they are able tosort outthose controversies. Participation helps prevent these disputes from escalating into conflict and acts of violence.

Broad participation is also essential to address theenvironmental issuesand the challenges posed by the newtechnologies. We must gather and listen to the opinions of those who have not participated in the adoption of these decisions, but who suffer the most from their effects: indigenous peoples, people who, forced by poverty, live in more vulnerable areas or women who assume responsibility of subsistence crops.

Dear colleagues:

75 years ago, States pledged to uphold the inherent equality of every human being and to promote the human rights that we all share.

Those states had been broken and devastated by two world wars, a terrible genocide, the nuclear threat, and the biggest recession the world had ever experienced. And yet, those same States drafted and approved a promise that could have been considered an act of idealism.

But in reality, that act had little to do with idealism. His decision focused resolutely on the practical aspect of the matter. The states that in 1948 adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights knew that by strengthening human rights they could slow down and perhaps halt the spiral of chaos that was destroying lives and nullifying any chance of stabilization.

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The right to live free from any form of discrimination, arbitrary detention and torture.

The rights to education, adequate food, health care, drinking water, sanitation, social protection and housing.

Freedom of expression and opinion and the right to privacy. Freedom of association and peaceful assembly, including the right to demonstrate peacefully.

The right to fair and equitable working conditions.

The right to a fair trial and the protection of the law.

The right to participate freely and meaningfully in public life.

This is how we can build peaceful and harmonious societies. This is how we can build countries capable of collaborating with each other in multilateral forums to face common challenges. This is how we can promote sustainable and lasting development, in a security context.

I am very hopeful that, for example, climate crisis litigation in national courts and international tribunals will promote accountability and ultimately bring solutions to the triple global crisis.

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As for the challenges that arise in the digital realm, it is time to incorporate the common language of human rights into the way we regulate, manage, design and use new technologies. From the conception phase and throughout the entire life cycle of these technologies, we need to apply safeguards to protect human rights.

My Office can contribute to this task by facilitating and guiding the hard discussions necessary to advance all these issues. Our organization is a bridge between the peoples and their state institutions; we are also a bridge between agents that operate in the international sphere and we help them to eliminate the obstacles that prevent the full realization of all human rights.

But there was no way we could do it alone.

The Universal Declaration has inspired decades of solidarity and dynamic and creative activism and has empowered many people to demand their rights and participate actively in their respective communities and societies.

His promises brought hope to millions of people and reassured them that things could be different.

That is the same spirit that we need now.

The lessons of history are many, but for now I would like to focus only on this one: without justice, there can be no lasting peace. Without inclusion, there can be no social cohesion and no sense of social community. Without the rule of law and without broad civic space, there can be no strong governance.

The progress of human rights is the way to fight hopelessness and is the way to find solutions to our current challenges and those of future generations.

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Hopelessness is often born from the impression that your life and the lives of your loved ones are unimportant; that when you try to raise your voice, they will ignore what you say or shut you up.

So as I call on states today to renew their commitment to the powerful words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, I also call on all who can do it to stand up and demand freedom from fear. Freedom from suffering and deprivation. And justice - including climate justice - for all.

Thank you so much


The growing and interrelated challenges of our time can be solved by the application of human rights? ›

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.

What are the main points of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? ›

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.

What is Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? ›

Article 27 says everyone has the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community, to share scientific advances and its benefits, and to get credit for their own work. This article firmly incorporates cultural rights as human rights for all.


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