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Statement of the MFA on the Occasion of Human Rights Day


Every year on December 10, Human Rights Day is observed throughout the world. The occasion of the 69th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides a unique opportunity for reflection. In nearly seven decades since the adoption of the Declaration we have witnessed an unprecedented progress in the fulfillment, protection and promotion of human rights perceived by the Czech Republic as universal and indivisible regardless of historical or cultural context. At the same time, a number of challenges have emerged. The Czech Republic seeks to respond to those challenges in an efficient manner. 

In 2018, we will commemorate 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly, the document developed into a cornerstone of human rights protection. It contributed to the establishment of a robust human rights system and even after 69 years it remains contemporary due to its courageous content. In order to prevent the Declaration from becoming a mere historical memento, a thorough fulfillment by all members of the international community is required.

With respect to its bilateral relations the Czech Republic builds on its international obligations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs fulfills its priorities as stipulated in the Human Rights and Transition Promotion Policy Concept of the Czech Republic and strategic documents of the European Union.

The Czech Republic attaches great importance to supporting international human rights organizations and mechanisms. After more than 22 years the Czech Republic successfully held the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe whose stated aim is to uphold democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The Czech Chairmanship organized over 20 expert events which positively influenced complex discussions on issues such as the binding effect of judicial decisions or detention of migrant children. During the past six months the Czech Republic either signed or ratified five international conventions of the Council of Europe. The Czech voice is expected to be heard in multilateral fora also in the upcoming year as the Czech Republic presented its candidature to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the term 2019–2021 at the elections to be held in October.

Any successful support of human rights presupposes an open dialogue and a credible reflection of its domestic situation of human rights protection. In 2017, the Czech Republic took part in its third Universal Periodic Review by the United Nations during which it received 201 recommendations on how to improve the human rights situation in the country. At the same time, we expect other countries to respect the international obligations and national laws and regulations. Challenging the rule of law and human rights, restricting civil society and media freedom, discrimination on the grounds of gender, religion or affiliation with a minority do not belong in this world. By contrast, equal participation of all in political and public affairs deserve our attention.

On the occasion of Human Rights Day we pay tribute and respect to the persons who dedicate their time and effort to human rights protection while often in life-threatening conditions, in particular to human rights defenders, with a special acknowledgement of women human rights defenders, and independent media workers. The Czech Republic remains committed to supporting the activists in their work. The Czech Transition Promotion Program will amount to 63 Million CZK in 2018.