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Statement by Foreign Minister H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the Occasion of Human Rights Day, 10 December 2015

Today, we are celebrating the 67th anniversary of the proclamation of the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has taken human rights to a universal level on the basis of fundamental values.

The Declaration, created by the common will of all nations and enlisting the rights and freedoms essential for human dignity, continues to be the most important source of reference at the universal level in the field of human rights.

Protecting and promoting human rights is among the main policy goals of the Republic of Turkey. In line with the demands and expectations of our fellow citizens and in accordance with our international obligations, substantial progress has been achieved in this field. We will resolutely continue our efforts in this vein.

Upholding the protection and promotion of universal values on human rights also among its foreign policy priorities, Turkey has strongly supported the process to further enhance this project from the very beginning, which was initiated under the aegis of the UN.

This year’s theme has been devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Being a party to the fundamental international human rights conventions including the two Covenants and with a view to further develop the joint efforts of humanity in a progressive and constructive manner, Turkey strongly supports universal adoption of the conventions.

Turkey has been among the pioneers of the international endeavours, which inter alia focus on preventing violence against women and domestic violence, taking special measures for children, disabled people and vulnerable groups and eliminating discrimination. In this respect, comprehensive work has also been made in order to protect the rights and enhance the living standards of women living in Turkey, ensure their full and equitable participation in all spheres of life and strengthen their status in the society.

On the other hand, common threats, including all forms of discrimination, intolerance or extremism as well as humanitarian issues such as irregular migration or refugees also come to the fore as the challenges which call for urgent joint action by our societies. These threats clearly demonstrate the need for international cooperation for protecting fundamental rights and freedoms.

In order to address common concerns and objectives of the international community, the first ever UN World Humanitarian Summit will be hosted by Turkey in Istanbul on 23-24 May 2016. Turkey, with its humanitarian diplomacy based upon human dignity and conscience, is a major actor in efforts to enhance the role of fundamental human rights and freedoms in the humanitarian field. In this context, the Summit will be instrumental in putting a special emphasis on the right to life in the humanitarian crises, the most fundamental human right in the context of human rights issues.

Determined to exert every effort to create a world where the rights of our citizens and all individuals will be respected, I congratulate our nation and the entire humanity on their Human Rights Day.