Press Briefing by Adrian Edwards Spokesperson for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan

The United Nations will continue to do its part as well. Through the work of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Commission on Human Rights, UNESCO, and each and every person employed by the Organization, we must continue to seek the realization of the Charter’s vision of “respect for human rights without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.” Indeed, today I am putting before Member States important proposals to strengthen this human rights machinery so that it can combat evils such as racism more effectively and consistently.

This year in Geneva, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will mark the day by convening a panel on effective practices to overcome hate crimes. In Paris, UNESCO is organizing youth workshops and cultural events within the framework of the International Coalition of Cities against Racism. And in New York, a series of panels will look at progress in global efforts to combat racism and racial discrimination.

As we remember the sacrifices of Sharpeville, and the sufferings and victories of people across the years and around the world in combating racism, let us today heed the call of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, and in the equal rights of men and women.”