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High-Level Thematic Debate of the UN General Assembly / Statement by Ambassador Nafsika Nancy Eva Vraila , Deputy Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN (13.7.16)

Friday, 15 July 2016

UN@70-Human Rights at the Center of the Global Agenda
High-Level Thematic Debate of the UN General Assembly

Statement by Ambassador Nafsika Nancy Eva Vraila, Chargé d' affaires a.i.

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is my pleasure to participate in this High-Level Thematic Debate today, on behalf of Greece, on the occasion of the 50th and 30th anniversaries of the International Human Rights Covenants as well as of the Declaration of the Right to Development respectively. These anniversaries timely coincide with the efforts by the international community to implement the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a plan of action for strengthening universal peace, which is fully grounded on a Human Rights based Approach to Development.

Still, news coming from many parts of the planet is unfortunately far from being promising for Human Rights. It’s a sad common knowledge to everybody that the world we live in faces serious challenges, which undermine full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by all:

Global insecurity, armed conflicts, systematic and widespread violence and extremism very often result in humanitarian crises and large-scale migratory and refugee flows. Unfortunately, these increasingly frequent phenomena affect disproportionately the lives, physical and mental integrity of the most vulnerable segments of society, such as women, children and minorities.

Moreover, other serious Human Rights abuses, such as discrimination and social inequalities, on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation trigger racism and hatred, impairing solidarity and peaceful coexistence.

Apart from that, restrictions on fundamental freedoms, which guarantee active participation in democratic governance, such as freedoms of assembly as well as expression online and offline, result in the shrinking space of civil society organizations, human rights defenders, bloggers, journalists and media workers.

In addition, severe crises of economic and financial nature, which nowadays are evident in many countries, often entail undesirable shortcomings in relation to the full and equal enjoyment of HR -especially the economic, social and cultural ones- by all members of the societies.

These are only few of the negative trends challenging our common UN values, namely peace, security, stability, equality and the rule of law. These trends have a negative cumulative effect on the promotion and protection of HR worldwide. We cannot turn a blind eye to these issues; the international community is legally and morally obliged to respond with aligned and coordinated action. 

Inclusive procedures, dialogue and cooperation at all levels and among all stakeholders is a necessary element for the development and implementation of coherent policies, based on the principle of full enjoyment of Human Rights by all persons, without discrimination on any ground.

Only such policies can effectively advance the principles of universality, indivisibility, and interdependency of Human Rights.

Openness, transparency, judicial control, as well as unhindered access to justice and remedies for the victims of Human Rights violations are the key elements of this endeavour.

It is an undeniable truth that the prevention of and accountability for Human Rights abuses can better be achieved by means of strengthening co-operation with international Human Rights mechanisms.

In this context, a strong multilateral system, which places Human Rights and sustainable development at the center of the global agenda, remains a top priority for my country.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Greece’s long-standing active commitment to the protection and promotion of peace, Human Rights, democracy and the rule of law, on national and international levels, in a coherent way, as well as its readiness to enhance effective co-operation with all international organizations, partners and actors, in order to accomplish such an imperative goal.

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