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MFA Commemorates Human Rights Day

The day of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has forever become the international Day of Human Rights. The Declaration was a firm commitment by States to protect the rights of everyone. 10th December provides a useful opportunity to look closer at how human rights are implemented and to mobilize political will to address human rights issues. This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring that human rights are at the centre of recovery efforts and the post COVID-19 world. In these international efforts, the Czech Republic plays an active role.

“There is no doubt that the COVID-19 crisis is a global and very urgent human rights issue. It is a test of societies, of governments and of individuals. It is a time for solidarity and cooperation to tackle the virus,” stated the Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček on the occasion of the Human Rights Day. Governments have to take difficult decisions in response to COVID-19. Respect for human rights is fundamental to the success of the public health response. Being open and transparent is key to ensuring people participate in measures designed to protect their own health.

“Regrettably, attacks against human rights defenders – who protect human rights for others - have continued, and in many parts of the world, i.a. due to sharing information about the pandemic, have even risen,” added Minister Petříček. In Belarus, Venezuela, Cuba and other countries, we witness mass detentions, intimidation and torture, excessive use of force against participants in peaceful protests. Freedom of expression and free media are under pressure.

The Czech Republic strives for promoting human dignity and all universal internationally recognized human rights. Through its Transition Promotion Programme, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers to share Czech experience. To express his moral support, Minister Petříček will meet foreign human rights defenders who live in the Czech Republic. Czech Ambassadors abroad will organize similar meetings.

At international level, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports the work of human rights organizations and mechanisms which play an important preventive role by bringing attention to the worsening human rights situations in the world and supporting implementation of international human rights commitments. “I am very glad that few days ago, the European Union, with the active support of the Czech Republic, adopted the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime and the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy. Similarly, I appreciate the role of the Czech chairmanship of the OSCE Human Dimension Committee and active membership in the UN Human Rights Council,” Minister Petříček reminded other activities of the Czech diplomacy.

A world with diminished human rights is a world that is stepping backwards. This year, 10 December is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want. The Czech Republic contributes to these efforts through its human rights and transition policy.