KABUL - Marking International Human Rights Day and as Afghanistan celebrates its National Remembrance Day, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) underscores the enduring importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and welcomes Afghanistan’s renewed commitments to the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
At an event held in Kabul, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, expressed congratulations to the Government of Afghanistan as one of the newly elected members of the Human Rights Council.
“This membership recognizes the achievements reached in past years and should encourage our continued collective work toward the full realization of all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights in Afghanistan,” he said. “The challenges remain daunting, but the United Nations remains steadfast in working closely with all Afghan institutions in overcoming them.”
The United Nations encourages the fulfilment Afghanistan’s broad-ranging pledges to promote human rights and reinforce its national protection system, which includes human rights education; complaint mechanisms; judicial redress; fair trial standards; legislation and policies that promote accountability; and reparations for victims.
“It is my honour to stand in solidarity with Afghan victims, and add my voice to their call for accountability, so that the violations come to an end, perpetrators are held accountable and the rule of law prevails,” said Yamamoto, who is also head of UNAMA.
The UN envoy also expressed congratulations to Afghanistan for the country’s new Penal Code as a milestone in Afghanistan’s criminal justice reform and a positive impetus for the further transformation of Afghan society.
“The protection of human rights relies on laws that not only reflect the state of the society but also shape it toward a better future where the most vulnerable are better shielded from abuse,” he said. “It is my conviction that the provisions of the new Penal Code will contribute significantly to such progress.”
At the Kabul event, the UN envoy also spoke about the fundamental right of Afghan women to participate fully in next year’s elections. “The United Nations will work diligently to ensure that women can take part in the elections as voters, campaigners, electoral officials and candidates,” he said.
On 10 December each year, at the conclusion 16 days of activities aimed at raising awareness about ending violence against women, the United Nations observes Human Rights Day around the world by recognizing achievements made since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after the trauma of the Second World War.
As a result of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the dignity of millions has been uplifted, untold human suffering prevented and the foundations for a most just world were laid. While its promise is yet to be fulfilled globally and in Afghanistan, the fact that it has stood the test of time is testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice and human dignity.
To highlight what the Universal Declaration means for people in their everyday lives, the United Nations is launching today a year-long campaign that will culminate in the actual occasion of the Declaration’s 70th anniversary celebration on the same day next year. To sign the global pledge to take action, visit http://www.standup4humanrights.org/.