By ensuring accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, the ICC system is a powerful mechanism for protecting core human rights.
This Human Rights Day, all states should commit to joining the Court to safeguard the human rights of their citizens every day.
This year, the theme of Human Rights Day is Human Rights 365, meaning that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights.
“The power of the Universal Declaration is the power of ideas to change the world. It tells us that human rights are essential and indivisible – 365 days a year,” says UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
Governments and civil society attending the 13th session of the ICC’s governing body – the Assembly of States Parties – in New York this week are reaffirming the centrality of ending impunity to the protection of human rights.
William Pace, convenor of the Coalition for the ICC:
“Respect for human rights is central to the fight against impunity. Systems of law not based on the principles of universal human rights are rule by law but not rule of law. By joining the ICC, governments can secure the protection of human rights for future generations.”
Tatevik Gharibyan, chief lawyer of the Civil Society Institute Armenia:
“Human rights are universal values and every state has the primary duty to ensure proper respect and protection of these inalienable rights of people.”
Mateo Gómez, legal advisor for the Colombian Commission of Jurists:
“A celebration for human rights makes sense when it aims to commemorate the memory of the victims; to remember and insist on the obligations that the States have towards them. A full exercise of human rights is imperative for every society that calls itself democratic and its the duty of every person to demand and respect them.”
Alison Smith, director of the International Criminal Justice Program at No Peace Without Justice:
“The situation in Syria since March 2011 is getting worse by the day: violations continue to increase in scope and intensity, particularly with the increasingly emboldened actions of the so-called “Caliphate of the Islamic State”. The dire situation for civilians is exacerbated by a culture of almost complete impunity. Almost four years since the beginning of hostilities, there are no national efforts for accountability in any shape or form and international efforts, including attempted referrals to the International Criminal Court, have been blocked, with no apparent solution in easy sight.”
Elham Saudi, director of Lawyers for Justice Libya
“Lasting peace is not possible without accountability for human rights violations. International Human Rights Day is an opportunity to remember this fact and to remind the Libyan state of its absolute responsibility to end impunity for human rights abuses. Accountability for human rights violations must be a central element of any settlement. Amnesties must not form any part of the ongoing peace process and the state must repeal all existing amnesties.”
Evelyn Balais-Serrano, executive director FORUM-ASIA
The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development joins the international community in celebrating the International Human Rights Day and stands in solidarity with the entire human rights community working for the protection and fulfilment of human rights. We pay tribute to all who gave their lives and sacrificed so we can enjoy the rights and freedoms that we have now.
On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, entitling every one of us, without distinction of any kind, to the full range of human rights.
In Asia where human rights violations have persisted despite efforts by civil society and other stakeholders to put an end to these violations, FORUM-ASIA today reaffirms its commitment in protecting human rights and advocating to promote a peaceful, just and equitable society where every day is a Human Rights Day.
Let us all strive to make every day a Human Rights Day!
Create a Vine with #rights365
In six seconds tell us why human rights matter 365 and post it on Vine. Tag your Vine with #rights365 and the UN Office of the High Commisser for Human Rights will will collect them all in its Storify and tell the story on 10 December.