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Human Rights Commissioner Kofler on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

10.12.2018 - Press release

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (10 December) on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly:

Human rights apply at all times, in all places and to everyone – that is the core and the message of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by people from all over the world at the UN General Assembly in Paris 70 years ago today. 


In many countries around the world – unfortunately also in Europe – these inalienable rights continue to be restricted, however. Human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers in social networks and committed members of the public are being intimidated and harassed, actions that hamper their work in the service of human rights to a profound degree. 


I would like to thank all courageous women and men who do not allow themselves to be deterred by this and who often take great risks in their efforts to promote human rights. These people include the many journalists who defend our freedom through their independent and critical reporting.


I vehemently disagree with those who claim that here is a trade-off between human rights and security and between human rights and economic development. Development, security and human rights are mutually enhancing. If we want to shape a more peaceful and just world, we have to put the respect for human rights at its very heart. 


Economic, social and cultural rights are becoming increasingly important alongside the protection of civil and political rights. Women’s rights, children’s rights, economic justice and decent work around the world, access to education, overcoming discrimination – all of these issues must be negotiated not only in Geneva, New York and Brussels, but also within society, at breakfast tables and in companies, as well as in schools and associations.

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