Today we celebrate Human Rights Day to mark the adoption, 66 years ago, by the United Nations General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The theme for this year’s International Human Rights Day – Human Rights 365 – reflects the aspiration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times, is entitled to the full range of human rights.
The EU is committed to upholding these rights. Two years ago we adopted the Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy, together with its Action Plan, and we appointed an EU Special Representative for Human Rights. Since then, with the support of EU Member States, we have been advocating human rights in over 40 human rights dialogues with third countries and we have been engaging with regional and multilateral organisations, including the UN.
EUSR Stavros Lambrinidis has closely and proactively interacted with key partners and supported the role of civil society organisations throughout the world. EU delegations have been monitoring, reporting, and acting on human rights issues, sometimes under very difficult circumstances.
We have achieved a lot but much remains to do. One such area of work is torture. The Convention against Torture was adopted by the UN 30 years ago today and yet torture is still widely practised around the world. This demands our urgent attention.
The renewal in 2015 of our Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy will be the opportunity to renew our commitment and to address new challenges to the universality and indivisibility of human rights.
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission on behalf of the European Union