- Ministry News
FM Co-hosts Universal Declaration of Human Rights' 70th Anniversary Event
1. Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, together with her counterparts from the French Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Costa Rica, and the Republic of Senegal, co-hosted a side event marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, held on September 26 at the UN headquarters in New York on the occasion of the UN General Assembly.
o The event was attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, as well as the foreign ministers of the countries co-hosting the event, including French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
2. In her opening remarks, Minister Kang took note that important progress had been made in discussions on human rights, including a range of agreements on human rights established based on the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the adoption of the Vienna Declaration (1995); and the creation of the Human Rights Council (2006). She also stressed the importance of respecting human rights in responding to various challenges today, including terrorism, climate change, and transboundary crime.
o Minister Kang said that it was necessary to take into account human dignity and fundamental human rights in ending and preventing conflicts, and maintaining peace, given that peace was fragile under violent conditions and oppressive rule when human rights violations were prevalent, and development cooperation not in conformity with human rights standards had a vulnerability.
o She said that considering this, the ROK was conducting development cooperation projects in a way that contributed to gender equality, quality job creation, and peace and fairness, focusing on 3 Ps -- "People, Peace and Prosperity” -- in order to support the sustainable development of recipient countries.
o In addition, the Minister said that the ROK was a case which showed the role of human rights as a preventive tool, and that the country had overcome conflicts, including war, dictatorship, and authoritarianism, through the ROK people’s desires for human rights and fundamental rights.
3. Participants shared the view that as the foundation for discussions on human rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, had set out the way forward for the international community’s discussions on human rights over the past 70 years, and reaffirmed that respect for human rights was an indispensable element of sustainable development, and the establishment of peace.
o UN Secretary-General Guterres said that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had had a big impact at the national, regional, and global levels for the past 70 years, but the world still had a long way to go before respect for human rights was truly universal. He called for the promotion of gender equality; respect for minorities, including refugees and migrants; each country’s accession to human rights agreements; and young people’s participation in discussions on human rights.
o UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Bachelet said that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a document containing the belief of humanity that the dignity of all people should be treated equally, and emphasized that sustainable development and peace cannot be achieved without respect for human rights.
4. The meeting, which brought together the foreign ministers representing each region, the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other key senior officials, served as an opportunity to reflect on the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to be reminded of the significance and role of respect for human rights, and to reaffirm the UN’s commitment to respect for human rights.
o In addition, the meeting was an opportunity for the ROK, the only Asian country co-hosting the event, to actively participate in the international community’s discussions on human rights, to contribute to facilitating discussions on human rights, and to strengthen the ROK’s image as a country leading discussions on human rights.
* unofficial translation