Geneva, Feb 27 (EFE).- As the United Nations marked the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, secretary-general António Guterres warned that human rights globally were “under assault from all sides.”
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has triggered the most massive violations of human rights we are living today,” Guterres said at the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“It has unleashed widespread death, destruction and displacement,” the UN chief added.
The UN has documented “dozens of cases of conflict-related sexual violence against men, women and girls” as well as serious human rights violations against prisoners of war, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions of civilians, Guterres condemned.
“Today’s public disregard and private disdain for human rights are a wake-up call,” the Portuguese diplomat said, urging nations to “revitalize the Universal Declaration and ensure its full implementation to face the new challenges of today and tomorrow.”
“Human rights are not a luxury that can be left until we find a solution to the world’s other problems,” the secretary-general added.
Guterres spoke of the record-breaking 100 million people around the world who had been forced to flee their homes due to war, violence and human rights violations.
The UN chief condemned how people were being persecuted due to their religious beliefs, ethnicity, ideology, sexual identity and gender.
“Freedom of expression is in freefall and the number of media workers killed around the world last year rose by a horrific 50 percent,” he said.
Guterres also warned that “the misuse of new technologies could threaten human rights on a scale we can’t even imagine.
“Future generations could inherit a world with no protection from misinformation, disinformation and lies.”
Guterres welcomed the progress that was achieved throughout the 20th century and in the first decades of the 21st century saying that whereas in 1900 around 80% of the global population lived in poverty, by 2015 the figure had dropped to less than 10 percent.
But the UN leader warned that instead of continuing to eradicate poverty and inequality, in the last decades “extreme poverty and hunger” were on the rise again.
Guterres announced that in a bid to safeguard human rights, he would be launching a new agenda for protection in July alongside high commissioner Volker Türk.
“This important initiative will seek to strengthen support from across the United Nations system to Member States to protect people and their rights, both in times of peace and in times of crisis and conflict,” the UN chief concluded. EFE