Message by The Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu On The Occasion of Human Rights Day - December 10, 2013
We are celebrating the 65th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is a global reference document in terms of fundamental rights and freedoms.
Turkey, a founding member of the UN and one of the first countries to sign the Declaration, approaches the protection and promotion of human rights from a universal viewpoint. This is among the top priority objectives of our State policy, in line with the letter and spirit of the Declaration.
From this standpoint, while working with determination on human rights reforms so as to extend the fundamental rights and freedoms of our citizens, strengthening of international cooperation and raising awareness within the international community for the elimination of human rights violations throughout the world constitute our key priorities.
The international standards governing human rights and the basic international human rights conventions have laid the ground for the comprehensive reforms in Turkey in order to address our citizens’ democratic requests and expectations and to ensure that fundamental rights and freedoms are fully respected. Besides civil and political rights, the rules and values for the protection and promotion of economic, social and cultural rights, combating racism and all forms of discrimination, respecting gender equality and children’s rights, elimination of torture and ill-treatment and safeguarding the rights of the disabled and immigrants form the foundation of basic human rights conventions.
The theme of this year’s anniversary is the commemoration of the 20th year of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which was adopted in 1993 at the World Conference on Human Rights. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) created by this Declaration, is an important agency working for the protection and promotion of human rights. The existence of such an agency is an indication of the extent to which the international community respects universal humanitarian values. Turkey, with its firm policy for the protection and promotion of human rights, will continue international cooperation, primarily with the OHCHR and constructive contribution to the advancement of human rights at the international level.
While the improvement achieved in human rights in the course of time is a source of pride for the international community, it is regrettable that there are still places in the world where people are persecuted and the right to life, which is among the most fundamental human rights, is not respected.
Moreover, the recent rise in xenophobia and discrimination on grounds of religion and belief has become a threat which in fact concerns all societies. Hate speech against immigrants and groups following a certain religion or belief has increased to noticeable levels in the world.
Turkey will maintain her resolute stance for combating human rights violations and the problems that are threats to international peace, security and welfare.
I would like to celebrate Human Rights Day and wish a peaceful future where respect for human rights and freedoms shall prevail.
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