Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of Human Rights Day, 10 December 2009
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations. Human Rights Day serves as a yearly landmark to remember the victories won in the long struggle to respect the dignity of all human beings. But its main purpose is to mobilize against major threats to human rights, namely poverty, discrimination, gender inequality, climate change and terrorism. “Embrace Diversity. End Discrimination” is the motto of this 61st anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration.
This motto is particularly pertinent in the contemporary world that has become more diverse than ever before. Migration flows at national and international levels are increasing. Continuing economic hardship, armed conflicts and tensions between communities in all parts of the world have pushed thousands to abandon their homelands in search of a better future.
These movements deeply affect all societies. Our major challenge today is to promote harmonious relations among people of different ethnic origin, culture, religion or belief. Ignorance and fear, accentuated by the ongoing economic and financial crisis, is a fertile ground for discrimination and new prejudices to arise. We must not let this happen.
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