Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier on the occasion of Human Rights Day

09.12.2008 - Press release

Exactly sixty years ago tomorrow (10 December), the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This affirmed the universal validity of human rights for the very first time. In this connection, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (9 December):

“Human rights are one of the most precious assets of human civilization. The adoption of the Universal Declaration sixty years ago was a signal of hope – hope for a world which lay in ruins following the Second World War. But even today, sixty years later, human rights are an unfulfilled promise for many people.

Our most difficult task is not to declare yet again how good and important human rights are. What counts are concrete endeavours to close the gap between aspiration and reality in implementing human rights.

Politicians have an obligation to act. Intensive political effort is needed to gradually move closer to the goal of equal rights for everyone. The German Government is therefore also committed to poverty reduction and peace policy.

A crucial role in this is played by the global network of activists which is working all over the world for equal rights – the courageous journalists, doctors, trade unionists and environmental groups, who often risk their lives in many countries when they campaign on behalf of women, children or political prisoners.”

Foreign Minister Steinmeier marked the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with three speeches:

  • at the ceremony “60 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” at the Willy Brandt House in Berlin on 1 December,
  • to the German Bundestag on 5 December,
  • at an amnesty international event in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Berlin on 10 December.

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