UN laments that human rights declaration remains unfulfilled
The UN General Assembly marked Wednesday as the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, noting that its goals remained unfulfilled while fresh global problems have aggravated living conditions for millions of people, dpa reported.
The short, low-key session of the 192-nation assembly at UN headquarters in New York was in contrast with the year-long activities around the world to debate whether norms included in the declaration had been carried out truthfully.
"We have come a long way, but the reality is that we have not lived up to the declaration's vision - at least not yet," said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Ban said since taking office as UN chief two years ago that he has seen that human rights have been abused and have not been properly protected.
Human trafficking, the exploitation of children and a host of problems are plaguing millions of people worldwide. The global financial crisis has added new challenges to the UN programmes to end poverty and hunger.
"We cannot turn a blind eye to poverty, bigotry and repression," Ban said. "We have a collective responsibility to reject indifference. Human rights - indivisible and interdependent - must hold the whole world in solidarity."
Advocacy groups have pressed the UN to demand governments meet provisions in the Universal Declaration.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) used the opportunity to ask the incoming US administration of president-elect Barack Obama to recommit the United States to a leadership role in human rights.
Jamil Dakwar, ACLU director, criticized the Bush administration for its "disastrous policy" in meeting the human rights of people around the world.
"It is time to fix the damage that has been done and restore our nation's commitment to upholding and protecting human rights," Dakwar said.