Minister Ahern affirms Ireland’s commitment to defending human rights. “Ireland remains firmly committed to promoting and protecting the human rights of all.” - Ahern
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, T.D., today reaffirmed Ireland’s commitment to defending international human rights.
The Minister met the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour in Dublin Castle and the two discussed the major developments in international human rights. The Minister outlined to the High Commissioner Ireland’s ongoing support for her Office and its work and for the UN Human Rights Council.
“The High Commissioner plays a key role as a voice for the promotion of human rights on the international stage and I would like to pay tribute to High Commissioner Arbour’s personal commitment to being an effective advocate for the promotion of human rights,” he said.
“Ireland is fully committed to ensuring that the new Human Rights Council achieves its full potential and becomes an active and effective part of the UN’s Human Rights architecture,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister addressed a major conference of human rights defenders from over 80 countries. The 4th Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders, organised by the NGO Front Line, is discussing the obstacles and threats faced by those who lobby for the universal provision of human rights around the world.
Delivering the opening address, the Minister described the work of human rights defenders, as “invaluable and a source of inspiration to us all.” He praised their commitment to standing up for their beliefs in the face of violence and threats.
“You represent a combination of practical idealism and courage which is an inspiration to others – in your countries and also internationally,” he told those attending the conference. “The impact of your work is felt not only by those whose rights you seek to vindicate but also by the rest of the world who you inspire to act.”
The Minister told the assembled delegates of Ireland’s ongoing commitment to supporting human rights defenders. Recalling that 2008 will mark the 60th anniversary of the agreement of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the Minister called for a renewed international commitment to achieving the goals of the Universal Declaration.
Note for Editors
The 4th Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders is organised by Front Line, the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and takes place from 22-24 November 2007, in Dublin Castle.
A human rights defender is an individual who works on behalf of their fellow citizens to uphold any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The opening address was delivered by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, T.D. The conference was also addressed by Ms Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The aim of the conference is to discuss the patterns of attacks against human rights defenders, human rights defenders facing additional risks because of their identity, women human rights defenders, practical measures for protecting human rights defenders and regional measures and mechanisms for protecting human rights defenders. The conference provides an opportunity for human rights defenders from around the world to come together to discuss relevant issues. Over 100 human rights defenders from over 80 countries are attending this event.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is a department of the UN Secretariat and is mandated to protect and promote all human rights and to prevent the occurrence or continuation of human rights abuses throughout the world.
The OHCHR is guided in its work by General Assembly Resolution 48/141, the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent human rights instruments and the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
Ms. Louise Arbour was appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights by the UN Secretary-General and approved by the General Assembly on 1 July 2004. A Canadian national, Ms. Arbour was Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and was also a member of the Canadian Supreme Court before taking up this appointment.
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22 November 2007