ESCWA celebrates 2006 International Human Rights Day with OHCHR

ESCWA celebrated International Human Rights Day on 7 December 2006. This year's theme was to fight poverty "as a matter of obligation, not charity". A Conference was jointly organised with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Middle East Region, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Beirut.

On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, Mrs. Mervat Tallawy, Executive Secretary, ESCWA, emphasised the core importance of human rights, human security and human dignity to the work of ESCWA and the UN. She then proceeded to present the message from the UN Secretary General on International Human Rights Day.

The role of human rights in development was emphasised by Dr. Fateh Azzam, Regional Representative, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Middle East Region. In setting out the legislative human rights framework, he emphasised the need to translate this legal human rights framework into practical development strategies that promote and ensure human dignity and human rights. Efforts should be made not only in the legal framework but also in the political and professional framework to adopt a rights based approach that establishes policies and programs to reduce poverty. Dr. Azzam highlighted that all right-holders should participate actively in establishing and implementing these policies and programs and strategies; and duty-bearers should be accountable to their population for their practices.

The integral and complementary relationship between social equity and human rights was addressed by Mr. Francois Farah, Chief, Social Development Division. Mr. Farah emphasised that "the concept of development included respect for all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural, as an inherent and constitutive part of development, not a contingent aspect, nor even an instrumental dimension". He also emphasised the increasing inequity among and across nations, citing the recently published UN-WIDER report on global inequity that stated that 1% of the world's adults owned 40% of all global assets. "Charity is a noble duty and is always welcome but it can at best temporarily ease up the suffering of a few individuals; Equitable social development can however enhance human dignity and curb the sheer structural distortions of biased policies and institutions that produce exclusion, marginalization, and vulnerability, a serious time threat for any protection, promotion or upholding of basic human rights for development".

SDD Presentation on Social Equity and Human Rights

Message of the Secretary General on International Human Rights Day

Message of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on International Human Rights Day, United Nations

International Human Rights Day, Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights

Declaration on the Right to Development

Right to Development

High- Level Task Force on the Implementation of the Right to Development 14 to 18 November 2005, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Message of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on International Human Rights Day

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