You are here: UNA-UK marks Human Rights Day 2013

10 December 2013

Human rights at the UN

For Human Rights Day 2013, UNA-UK is joining with the UN to mark the occasion by celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the post of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and its related Office (OHCHR), the principal UN office mandated to promote and protect human rights.

OHCHR can recount numerous achievements over the past 20 years – from protecting women’s rights to investigating grave human rights abuses – but its job is by no means over. A rapidly expanding workload means the Office is under greater strain than ever.

Despite human rights being one of the UN’s three main pillars, OHCHR currently receives less than three per cent of the UN regular budget. And budget proposals for 2014-2015 are set to reduce this further still by $8.3 million.

Click here to find out more and to take part in UNA-UK’s urgent action calling for increased support for OHCHR’s vital work.

Individuals can now also donate to OHCHR directly. Click here for more information.

Human rights in the UK

UNA-UK has co-signed an open letter, published in The Telegraph, from civil society to the leaders of the UK’s three main political parties calling for the UK to live up to its commitments to work for human rights both at home and abroad.

Click here to read the letter.

The Association is also partnering with the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) to promote its new ‘Human Rights Charter’. UNA-UK’s Executive Director, Natalie Samarasinghe, took part in the parliamentary launch of the charter, which reaffirms the importance of the Human Rights Act in incorporating the UK’s international human rights obligations.

Speaking alongside parliamentarians, major UK charities and grassroots human rights activists, she said:

"The international human rights system we have today is the result of ordinary people around the world striving for justice, equal opportunity and freedom from abuse. Far from infringing national sovereignty, it relies on governments adopting these norms and making them a reality for their peoples.

The UK has a strong domestic tradition of human rights. It has also been instrumental in their development internationally. For this reason, UNA-UK and its partners will continue to call on the UK to lead by example on human rights, at home and abroad."

Click here to read the speech in full.