Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

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Human Rights
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Statement on the Occasion of Human Rights Day


On 10 December, every year, we commemorate the international Human Rights Day as we mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The objective of the declaration was to ensure universal recognition and preservation of human rights and fundamental freedoms. As every year, it is an opportunity to evaluate the fulfilment of these commitments and to express political support to the solution of human rights issues. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanks all those who are dedicated to the protection of human rights around the world despite the difficult circumstances during the pandemic.

The human rights situation around the world unfortunately continues to worsen even during the ongoing pandemic. Representatives of civil society, human rights defenders and independent journalists have to face escalating attacks in many countries, also in relation to their activities and sharing of information about the pandemic. In Belarus, Myanmar, Cuba and other countries, we are witnessing brutal use of force against peaceful protestors, mass arrests, arbitrary detention and torture.

As in previous years, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will organise a meeting on 10 December with foreign human rights defenders living in the Czech Republic. Acting Deputy Minister David Konecký will assure them of the Czech support for their work and of the high importance of their active participation in public affairs. Czech ambassadors will organise similar gatherings in many countries around the world. They are a symbolic reminder of the legendary breakfast held by French president Mitterrand with eight human rights defenders in then communist Czechoslovakia in 1988.

The Czech Republic actively supports international organisations and mechanisms that focus on the fulfilment of human rights obligations and play an important preventive role by drawing attention to the worsening human rights situation around the world. The current term of the Czech membership in the UN Human Rights Council concludes at the end of this year. Its highlight was the consensual adoption of the Czech-led resolution on equal participation in political and public affairs. The Czech Republic also welcomes the recent extension of the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime which has, over the past year, proven to be a useful tool for the EU to react to serious human rights violations around the world. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also provides practical assistance to civil society and offers to share the Czech experience through its Transition Promotion Programme.

The first Summit for Democracy takes place symbolically on Human Rights Day this year. This US initiative is an opportunity to galvanize political will to improve the human rights situation in the world. The Czech Republic participates in the Summit and will actively engage in the follow-up throughout next year, including during the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU.