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On the United Nation’s Day: Human Rights Receive the Least Share of UN Resources

The 24th of October coincides with the International United Nation’s Day, which marks the date when the UN first came into being in 1945. The UN General Assembly issued, in 1971, a resolution to make of this day an occasion for raising awareness on UN objectives and exposing its achievements in all spheres. It is also an anniversary for urging peoples and nations to support the United Nations to achieve its objectives as declared in its charter.

The tradition of international days started at the UN in 1950. It is probably not coincidental that the first international day was the International Day for Human Rights which coincides with the 10th of December every year, as human rights is the third pillar of UN work beside security and peace. However, it is sad, as noted by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillai, a few days ago while she launched her third tenure, that human rights still receives the least share of UN resources compared to the other two pillars, and that the financial support it receives is declining rather than increasing despite the growing international concern with human rights issues as indicated by some facts to which reference was made by Pillai when she stated that the UN Human Rights Commissions addressed the security council, during her tenure, twelve times while her predecessors addressed the security council only nine times over 15 years!!!

This striking paradox necessitates revision and review as many human rights issues are defeated by inadequate finance and resource shortages. It is here that the wisdom behind international days lies, as these international days furnish an opportunity to pause and contemplate to discover sources of inadequacies and to draw plans to bridge gaps and remove contradictions.

The “Arab Spring” brought about great challenges to the UN system as people are now more alert to the role of the UN in achieving the objectives it declared in its charter. Probably this was what the UN General Secretary meant in his address on the occasion of the International United Nation’ s Day when he spoke about “the upheavals, transitions, processes, and deep transformations”. This, of course, calls for the UN to keep abreast of peoples’ aspirations to achieve peace and security, protect human rights, and enhance the rule of law.

This day represents a new opportunity to reaffirm adherence to the UN principles and to enhance these principles in all national, regional, and international spheres. The realization of these principles such that they are seen alive amongst peoples and nations is the real celebration of the International United Nation’s Day. Needless to say this requires the consolidation of the efforts of all actors from among those who love humanity. As stated by the UN General Secretary in his address today “No single leader or country or institution can do everything alone; but it is possible for any of us to contribute something, through his/her own means”. We at GIHR congratulate the whole world over on the occasion of this day, hoping that it will come upon us next year in a better world where human rights are more protected and UN values are more present and widely prevalent.

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