Ban Ki-moon, Human Rights Day (10 December 2014)
On Human Rights Day we speak out.
We denounce authorities who deny the rights of any person or group.
We declare that human rights are for all of us, all the time: whoever we are and wherever we are from; no matter our class, our opinions, our sexual orientation.
This is a matter of individual justice, social stability and global progress.
The United Nations protects human rights because that is our proud mission – and because when people enjoy their rights, economies flourish and countries are at peace.
Violations of human rights are more than personal tragedies. They are alarm bells that may warn of a much bigger crisis.
The UN’s Human Rights Up Front initiative aims to heed those alarms. We are rallying in response to violations – before they degenerate into mass atrocities or war crimes.
Everyone can advance the struggle against injustice, intolerance and extremism.
I call on States to honour their obligation to protect human rights every day of the year. I call on people to hold their governments to account. And I call for special protections for the human rights defenders who courageously serve our collective cause.
Let us respond to the cries of the exploited, and uphold the right to human dignity for all.