Human Rights

Sudan Marks the Human Rights Day

Khartoum, 12 December 2019 On Human Rights Day, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian coordinator in Sudan Ms. Gwi-Yeop Son reaffirmed the United Nations Country Team’s readiness to stand together with the people of Sudan and in support of the Transitional Government at an event organized under the auspices of the Minister of Youth and Sports, H.E. Ms. Walaa El-Boushi.

“Establishing a fully mandated Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is a first significant step and together the whole UN system will support the government in assuming its responsibilities and the Sudanese people in exercising the full spectrum of their economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights,” Ms. Son said in her opening remarks at the event organized today by the United Nations Human Rights Training, Documentation Centre for South-West Asia and the Arab Region (UNTDC) and the Regional Centre for Training and Development of Civil Society (RCDCS) in Sudan to celebrate the Human Rights Day.

This year’s Human Rights Day, 10 December, is celebrated under the theme “Youth Standing up for Human Rights.” Under the generic call to action “Stand Up for Human rights”, the Day celebrates the potential of youth as constructive agents of change, amplify their voices and engage a broad range of global audiences in the promotion and protection of rights.

The campaign, led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), is designed to encourage, galvanize and showcase how youth all over the world stands up for rights, against racism, hate speech, bullying, discrimination, climate change to only name a few.

H.E. the Minister of Youth and Sports called on all Sudanese youth to defend peace, equality and freedom and put an end to bloodshed. “Let us remember that our needs are different, some need wheelchairs, some need sticks to lead on the road. We complement each other, so let us defend the rights and the needs of every one of us,” Ms. El-Boushi said. She added that “let us remember that we have brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers living in displacement and refugee camps. We must defend their rights and be supportive to them.”

The event was addressed by Director, the Regional Centre for Training and Development of Civil Society (RCDCS) Dr. Mutaal Girshab and the Director of the UN Human Rights Training and Documentation Centre for South-West Asia and the Arab Region, Dr Abdel Salam Sidahmed. Video messages for the Prime Minister of Sudan, Dr. Abdallah Hamdok and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Michelle Bachelet.

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): a milestone document proclaiming the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world.


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Mr. Ayman Suliman,




I am very honoured to be with you today.

Over the past seven decades, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has had a revolutionary impact.

The Declaration is universal not only in its very nature but also in its reach.

It has permeated policies and constitutions in all regions.

It has unleashed the power of women’s full participation and spurred the fight against discrimination and racism.

It has given rise to a rich body of legally binding international human rights treaties and it continues to be an inspiration to people around the world.

However, we still have a long way to go before respect for human rights is truly universal.

The words of the Declaration are not yet matched by facts on the ground.

In practice, people all over the world still endure constraints on – or even total denial – of their human rights.

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration says it so superbly: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

The social, political, economic and cultural rights enshrined in this foundational document belong to everyone, everywhere – independent of race, colour, gender, language, faith or opinion.

The ambitious task of drafting this landmark document was completed in just two years.

Determined to prevent the atrocities of the Second World War from ever happening again, the drafting committee – comprised of representatives from Australia, Canada, Chile, China, France, Lebanon, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States – worked with great efficiency and perseverance.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s leading role as the Chairperson of the drafting committee is well known.

At a time of increasing East-West tensions, Ms. Roosevelt managed to skilfully steer the drafting process toward its successful completion.

Other women, although not part of the official drafting committee, also played essential parts in shaping the document.

Some of them and their contributions are highlighted in this exhibit.

Hansa Mehta of India, for example, without whom we would likely be speaking of the Universal Declaration of “the Rights of Man” rather than of “Human Rights.”

Or Begum Shaista Ikramullah of Pakistan, who championed Article 16 on equal rights in marriage, to combat child marriage and forced marriage.

Or Minerva Bernardino of the Dominican Republic, who successfully argued for inclusion of “the equality of men and women” in the preamble of the Universal Declaration.

Ms. Bernardino, together with other Latin American women delegates – Bertha Lutz of Brazil and Isabel de Vidal of Uruguay – also played a crucial role a few years earlier in the drafting of the United Nations Charter, which became the first international agreement to recognize the equal rights of men and women, paving the way for the Universal Declaration.

At this pivotal moment in our struggle for gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide, we want to pay tribute to those pioneers.

They are an inspiration to us all, especially to young women and men today.

Let us keep up the struggle.

Let us put the Universal Declaration’s powerful words into action.

The Sustainable Development Agenda – which aims to lift millions from poverty and enable them to exercise their inalienable rights – has human rights at its core and as its foundation.

Lasting peace and inclusive sustainable development can never be achieved without full respect for human rights.

So, ladies and gentlemen, on this anniversary, let us not only reflect on the enduring importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, let us also speak out and stand up for human rights everywhere.

Thank you.


Secretary-General appoints Michelle Bachelet of Chile as

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, New York, 10 August 2018

 United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, following approval by the General Assembly, has appointed Michelle Bachelet of Chile as the next United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  She will succeed Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of Jordan, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his commitment and dedicated service to the United Nations.

Ms. Bachelet ended her second four-year term as President of Chile in March this year, having already held the position between 2006 and 2010.  She was the first woman to be elected to Chile’s highest office.  After her first term, she joined the United Nations as the first Executive Director of the newly established United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women).

A long-time human rights champion and ground-breaking leader, Ms. Bachelet is a pediatrician who began her government career as an adviser in the Health Ministry, rising quickly to become the first woman to lead Chile’s Health Ministry in 2000 and Defence Ministry in 2002.  She became involved in Chilean human rights activism in the early 1970s.  Ms. Bachelet and her parents were political prisoners in their country.  Her father, a general in the air force died while in prison.  After their release, Ms. Bachelet and her mother spent several years in exile.  She returned to Chile in 1979, finished school and became a pediatrician and public health advocate.

Ms. Bachelet holds a medical degree.  She studied military strategy at Chile’s National Academy of Strategy and Policy and at the Inter-American Defense College in the United States.



 In answer to questions following the announcement by the United States of its decision to withdraw from the Human Rights Council, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General has the following to say:  

The Secretary-General would have much preferred for the United States to remain in the Human Rights Council. The UN’s Human Rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide.   

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General