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Statement by Foreign Minister H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the occasion of Human Rights Day, 10 December 2016

We are celebrating the 68th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a landmark in the process of the development of human rights in history, which shall be observed this year with the theme “Stand up for someone's rights today”.

Unfortunately, in 2016 our world has witnessed the continuation of grave human rights violations in different geographies and assaults on humanitarian values. It is also observed that, in a globalized world, human rights violations have not only posed a threat to the countries they occur, but also to the world peace and stability.

In this framework, we believe that it is an important responsibility for the international community not to remain indifferent to human rights violations and humanitarian crises in different regions.

The fact that during the July 15 terrorist coup attempt and its immediate aftermath, many countries failed both to comprehend the barbaric attack on the human rights and democratic order of the Turkish people, and to display the necessary solidarity with Turkey, has regrettably shown that, despite the progress achieved in the field of human rights, the world can still remain indifferent and inert in standing up for others’ rights.

Today, in line with the rule of law and international obligations, Turkey as a responsible state continues to counter terrorist organizations such as FETO, PKK and DAESH which brutally violate fundamental human rights. At the same time, Turkey, with a human-centered understanding which is cited as exemplary by the world, has been hosting people forced to leave their country in massive migratory waves to survive.

It should be also borne in mind that this struggle of Turkey has been contributing to the establishment or protection of secure, stable and democratic orders where human rights can be enjoyed and promoted in all neighboring regions including the Middle East and Europe, both in the short and long terms.

However, irrespective of the positions and behaviors of international actors with regard to universal values, respect for human-being and her/his human rights is not only a legal responsibility for Turkey, but also a legacy stemming from its state tradition, culture and its centuries old understanding of tolerance.

As a respectable member of the international community, we will continue to protect and promote human rights, which are among our key foreign policy principles; to work resolutely for the improvement of democracy and rule of law both in our country and the world, and to stand up against violations of rights wherever they happen.

With these thoughts, I congratulate Human Rights Day for our nation and the whole world.