Today the whole world commemorates 66 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What is the significance of this document?
Mr Lamin Manneh: In 1948, in a world that was still coping with the tragic aftermath of World War 2 and the holocaust, when a wind of change was silently starting to blow in the old colonized world, our predecessors proved us that times of great sorrow and great fears can result in a new future and new hope for mankind. They came up with a document that spelled out the rights that all human beings everywhere in the world should enjoy equally without any discrimination.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights came to symbolize the collective commitment and resolve of the international commitment to ensure that human rights govern the relations between states and their people everywhere. Over 6 decades later, this resolve remains, although many challenges have tested that resolve every step of the way.
Is there a special theme for HumanRights Day this year?
Yes, every year we have a theme chosen to commemorate International Human Rights Day . This
year the theme chosen is “Human Rights-365” and the idea behind this theme is to send a message that “every day is a human right”, not just the 10th of December when we commemorate Human Rights Day. As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reminds us in his speech today, “the power of the Universal Declaration is the power of ideas to change the world. It tells us that human rights are essential and indivisible – 365 days a year. Every day is Human Rights day: a day on which we work to ensure that all people can gain equality, dignity and freedom”. And there is no better way to do this than to commit to the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to ratify and abide by all other international human rights instruments that followed the adoption of this historic document.