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For Immediate Release
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60th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Time to Deliver


Amnesty International today called on
governments to make the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights (UDHR) a time for action not just for celebration.

"The senseless killings in Mumbai, thousands of people fleeing the
conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, hundreds of thousands
more trapped in dire conditions in Darfur, Gaza and northern Sri Lanka
and a global economic recession that could push millions more into
poverty creates a burning platform for action on human rights," said
Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Against this backdrop to the 60th anniversary of the UDHR, Amnesty
International warned that the world faces multiple challenges.

Denouncing the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Amnesty International
cautioned governments not to rollback human rights in the name of
security. "Governments have a duty to protect people from terrorism,
but detaining people indefinitely without charge or trial, condoning or
conducting torture and eroding the rule of law does not make the world
a safer place," said Irene Khan.

Noting the impact of the global economic crisis on poor countries,
which risks throwing millions more people into poverty, Amnesty
International called on governments to protect economic and social
rights with as much vigour as civil and political rights.

"The gift of the UDHR is universality and indivisibility. Human
rights are universal - every person is born free and equal in rights
and dignity. Human rights are indivisible - all rights, whether
economic, social, civil, political or cultural - are equally important
and there is no hierarchy of rights," said Irene Khan.

"Despite progress in many areas in the past decades, injustice,
inequality and impunity persist in too many parts of the world. The
real problem is that governments make promises and adopt laws but fail
to deliver. "

"The time has come for governments to set right six decades of human rights failures and deliver on their promises."

Six decades of human rights successes include:

  • International human rights treaties and national laws.
  • Recognition of rights of women and children.
  • Creation of the International Criminal Court and prosecutions for war
    crimes and crimes against humanity by international tribunals and some
    national courts.
  • Establishment of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
    at the UN and in some countries, national human rights commissions.
  • End of capital punishment in more than two-thirds of the world.
  • Progress towards control of arms.
    Strong civil society support for human rights, including world-wide
    network of human rights defenders and human rights organizations.

Six decades of human rights failures include:

  • Massive violations of human rights and humanitarian law in armed conflicts
  • Increasing targeting of civilians by armed groups and terrorists.
  • Violence against women and children, including recruitment of child soldiers.
  • Denial of economic and social rights to millions living in poverty.
  • Corrupt and unfair judicial systems in many countries.
  • Use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment
    Denial of rights to refugees and migrants
    Attacks on activists, journalists and human rights defenders
    Suppression of dissent in many countries.
  • Discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender and identity.

Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Our supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity. We have more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions and we coordinate this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.