Today the UN Human Rights Council celebrated the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as it opened a one-week session — its last of the year — to discuss Sudan, Burma, and a report on human rights and counter-terrorism.
Monday’s meeting began with praise of 1948 declaration from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (via video), High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, and Human Rights Council president Doru Costea. “The universal nature of these rights and freedoms is beyond question,” said Arbour. “These celebrations are meant both as tributes to an extraordinary human achievement and as reminders…of making the Declaration a living reality for everyone.”
Several countries praised the universality of human rights. However, Syria, Cuba, Pakistan, and Sudan said that underdeveloped countries were not present at the adoption of the declaration and thus it lacked input from the diverse global community. Cuba, Syria, Egypt, Iran, and Yemen singled out Israel for “denying self-determination to the Palestinian people.”
See the rest of the week’s program of work.