60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, H.E. Mr. Daniel Jouanneau, Ambassador of France to Pakistan, hosted a reception at the Residence of France, Islamabad, on December 15, 2008.
Syed Mumtaz Alam Gillani, Federal Minister for Homan Rights, was the Chief Guest on this occasion. Chaudhry Mohammad Afzal Sandh, Minister of State for Health, Mr. Kamran Michael, Minister for Law, Justice and Human Rights, Government of Punjab, Barrister Arshad Abdullah, Minister for Law, Parliamentary and Human Rights, Government of NWFP were present on this occasion. This ceremony was attended among others by several ambassadors, parliamentarians, journalists, representatives of local and internationl NGO’s. The internationally known Pakistani Human Rights activists Mrs. Asma Jahangir and Mukhtar Mai were also present on this occasion.
The French Ambassador on this occasion said that the core message of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stands today more relevant than ever. Its values, including non-discrimination, equality, fairness and universality apply to everyone, everywhere and always. Following is the text of the speech given by the French Ambassador:
Speech by The French Ambassador, H.E. Daniel Jouanneau,
on the occasion of the 60th anniversary
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
We are here tonight to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal declaration of Human Rights.
The declaration, one of the very first texts adopted by the United Nations, was drafted by represen-tatives of all regions and legal traditions. It was adopted at that time by 48 countries, including Pakistan. It was one of the first acts of Foreign policy of Pakistan. It was adopted in Paris.
Today, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights core message stands more relevant than ever : its values, including non-discrimination, equality, fairness and universality, apply to everyone, everywhere and always. French Minister of State for Human Rights Rama Yade stated, it has been a true roadmap for the entire humanity.
Your appointment as a Federal Minister for Human Rights - as well as Mr. Bhatti’s appointment as a Federal Minister for Minorities, are very good news.
These new steps are a clear indication of Pakistani authorities commitment to improve the rights of the people in the Pakistani society.
This is consistent with the political developments that took place in Pakistan in 2008. Pakistan has demonstrated its ability to manage a peaceful transition of power.
Democratisation is on the way. We welcome it, we support it, and we are confident, Minister, that, in this spirit, you will be able to bring about significant changes in the society.
In this regard, your commitment to setting up the long awaited independent National Human Rights Commission must be underlined. Such a new step would be an important progress, and would help create a higher level of defense and promotion of Human Rights in Pakistan.
I would also like to pay a very warm tribute to the tremendous work done here by the NGOs. No doubt, Minister, that you will find in them a great support in your action.
It is an honor for me to welcome Mrs. Asma Jahangir. Your organization, Madam, HRCP, as many NGOs in Pakistan, have been advocating for many years respect for Human Rights ; you make people aware of the abuses women, children, minorities, prisoners, many people, have unfortunately been facing.
Mrs. Mukhtaran Mai, you know how violent this society can be against the most vulnerable people. You experienced it in the most cruel and barbaric way. We know your courage, we admire your commitment, we support your struggle. Thank you for your presence with us tonight.
It is as well an honor for me to welcome Mr. Abdul Sattar Edhi. Sir, you are the living testimony of the hospitality, fairness and dedication to the well being of the Pakistani people. You have been committed to alleviating the suffering of the poor and needy people of Pakistan, for more than 50 years. Sir, you deserve our deepest respect.
We are confident, Minister, that the true defender you are of Human Rights values, I mean, inherent dignity and equality of all human beings, would find in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a guidance for strengthening the rights of the people, protecting them against violence and securing access for all to a fair and independent justice.
We are not lesson givers. But we really believe that this would improve Pakistani citizens life and the cohesion of the community ; it would also change significantly Pakistan’s image abroad in a positive way.
We know as well, from the European history, since we experienced so many wars due to intolerance and lack of understanding, that defending Human Rights, as president Sarkozy said, is defending peace.
In this struggle for peace, you can rely on our friendly help and support, and I know, of all my colleagues of the European Union.
Thank you very much for your attention.