Children face an assault on human rights: UN chief

Geneva, Feb 24 (IANS) Young people and children face an assault on human rights and a range of development crises if nations do not rally and commit to an agenda of protection of fundamental freedoms and rights, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday.

Guterres made the remarks at the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, reports Efe news.

The gathering is known as the council’s “high-level segment” and is widely regarded as the most important of the three meetings that take place yearly.

Over the course of three days experts, heads of state and prime ministers, as well as dozens of state dignitaries, will present the urgent needs and priorities of the countries they represent.

Guterres made a call to action with a seven-point plant, in which he addressed human rights issues across several areas including, sustainable development, gender equality, challenges in the digital age, crisis prevention and freedom of expression.

“I have come to the Human Rights Council, the fulcrum for international dialogue and cooperation to advance all human rights, to launch a call to action.

“Human rights are the birthright of every person and in the interest of every country. They ensure stability. They build solidarity. They promote inclusion and growth,” Guterres said.

Hr launched his call to action with the right to sustainable development which is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The second area Guterres flagged was the need to protect human rights in situations of violence, particularly when it comes to vulnerable groups such as minorities and indigenous peoples.

The UN chief added that gender equality and women’s rights, as well as the empowerment of civil society, were all areas without which human rights could not be guaranteed.

Guterres concluded by saying that human rights should be at the core of multilateralism, and that modern technologies and societies had to accommodate essential rights and freedoms.

The UN will promote human rights on the Internet and in the realm of data protection, particularly data that is personal and relates to a person’s health, Guterres added.