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Message by the Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu on the occasion of Human Rights Day, 10 December 2010





Today, we celebrate the 62nd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This Declaration, which raised human rights to universal level on the basis of basic common contemporary principles, stands as the reference document in the realm of fundamental rights and freedoms.


Within the framework of the theme “human rights defenders who act to end discrimination” identified by the United Nations for this year’s celebrations, the role of individuals, who are expected to do their part as human rights defenders gains importance. States are expected to take all necessary measures to prevent discrimination. They also have the duty to support individuals working for the elimination of discrimination and to protect their rights.


Turkey’s consistent and resolute policy against discrimination has a positive impact on its fruitful cooperation with international conventions and monitoring mechanisms of the UN at global scale, and those of the Council of Europe, at regional scale. Ensuring the free and equal enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms by our citizens is our basic policy. All forms of discrimination are prohibited by the Constitution and relevant laws.


Protection and promotion of universal values in human rights is one of the main pillars of Turkish foreign policy. To this aim, Turkey contributes to the improvement of human rights in a world that is becoming ever more global on the one hand and, on the other hand, exerts utmost effort to set highest standards in Turkey and supports similar efforts in other states. 


This understanding has been the determining factor in Turkey’s priorities fixed for its Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, between November 2010 and May 2011. During its Chairmanship, Turkey will promote the objectives of the Council of Europe of enhancing and strengthening the principles of human rights, democracy and rule of law.


Turkey continues its constructive efforts through actively participating in the work of UN Human Rights Council which brings together all nations in the realm of human rights. Having a universal approach to human rights, Turkey is party to all core international human rights conventions and supports their universal ratification.


In the course of Turkey’s two-year non-permanent membership to the UN Security Council, its support to initiatives aiming at preventing violations of rights at conflict situations is indicative of the importance attached by Turkey to the protection of human rights.


Reiterating my conviction that human rights will be further respected around the world with each passing day, I would like to celebrate the Human Rights Day of our citizens and the international community.