Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Declaration by Catherine Ashton

Declaration by High Representative Catherine Ashton on behalf of the European Union on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2012

Today, on 10 December, we celebrate Human Rights Day. Standing up for Human Rights, democracy and the rule of law is the silver thread that runs through EU external relations.

This year we look back on a productive year for the EU in human rights. The EU adopted a Human Rights Strategy to enhance the effectiveness and consistency of EU human rights policy across the full range of its activities. We appointed the first EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Mr Stavros Lambrinidis, to promote human rights through dialogue with third countries as well as international and regional organisations. The EU was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2012 in recognition of its work on reconciliation, democracy and the promotion of human rights, which helped extend the area of peace and stability across the continent. It is fitting that the presentation of this prestigious prize comes on the day of the celebration of human rights.

The theme of this year's Human Rights Day is inclusion and the right to participate in public life. It is a particularly timely theme in light of the transitions to democracy that we are witnessing worldwide. A number of countries in our neighbourhood such as Tunisia, Libya and Egypt successfully organised democratic elections in the past year, allowing many citizens to vote freely for the first time and offering them an opportunity to participate in the decisions affecting their future. This trend towards democracy was also apparent further afield. After decades of internal repression, dramatic changes are finally taking place in Burma/Myanmar. In Somalia, we welcomed the adoption of a new provisional Constitution and in Sierra Leone, the recent elections were conducted in a peaceful environment.

Yet much remains to be done to support those who risk their lives in support of the fundamental values they believe in and in the hope of a better future for themselves and future generations. Holding elections can only be a first step towards deep democracy in which human rights take root. Rights need to be enshrined in society through law, but also through daily practice. The EU is conscious of renewed efforts by various governments to tighten restrictions on the legitimate activities of NGOs – especially but not exclusively those that receive external funding. The EU is committed to supporting the vital work of civil society. In this context, a European Endowment for Democracy has been established as one concrete expression of the EU’s commitment to support democracy in the Neighbourhood and beyond.

We believe that everyone must be free to exercise their right to equal participation. Women and young people have been at the forefront of many of the democratic movements that we have witnessed this year and have been an inspiration to people around the world. People with disabilities still face obstacles in exercising their right to participate in public life, which must be addressed. The EU is committed to work with governments around the world, through multilateral and international organisations and in a spirit of genuine partnership with civil society to support new democracies and ensure the right to inclusion and participation in public life can become a concrete reality for all.

ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Syriza Win Greek Election: The Rumblings Of The Left

Binoy Kampmark: The left – and by this, the genuine, progressive, unmanagerial left – is getting noisy. The Greek elections are upon us, with the similar challenges being played out from 2012. There are fears of Grexit – a heavy breathing departure from the eurozone that will do everything to rattle the central currency mechanism that has been taking a battering...

Much of this has been triggered by the moral outrage and political response of the left grouping centred on Syriza of Greece. The movement has been said to have similarities to a new constellation of power in Spain, led by Podemos. Syriza, led by Alexis Tsipras, has promised to renegotiate the terms of Greece’s 240 billion euro international bailout arrangements. Both parties point out to the distance between elector and the elected, a creeping death of democratic accountability in favour of market propriety. More>>

 

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Similarities Between John Key And David Cameron

For years now, David Cameron has been the closest available thing to a mentor/analogue to our Prime Minister, such that Key watchers could be interested in an analysis of Cameron that appeared in the British press over the Christmas break. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ian Fletcher Resignation & GCSB’s New Role

It may well be that after being shoulder-tapped in Queensland for the GCSB job, three years of living in Wellington has been enough for Fletcher and his family, given that the pending review of the GCSB would have required an even longer commitment from him. Three years of Wellington’s weather is enough for anyone... More>>

ALSO:

Ian Apperley: $10m Or $100m For New Wellington Council IT System?

I feel a Tui Billboard coming on. I commented the other day that it looked like the Council’s Ninth big project was a potential $100 million plus... The Mayor has responded: “I am reassured by the Chief Executive and by Anthony Wilson that the proposed budget is in the region of $10 million.” More>>

ALSO:

Southern Ocean:
Navy Intercepts Illegal Fishing Vessels

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today put illegal fishing vessels operating in the Southern Ocean on notice and vowed to take action against their owners. “As part of a multi-agency operation, the HMNZS WELLINGTON has intercepted two vessels claiming to be flagged to Equatorial Guinea, fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean.” Mr McCully says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news