An official website of the European Union. See all European Institutions
Honourable Minister of Community Development & Social Welfare, Emerine Kabanshi
Colleagues Ambassadors of Member States of the European Union,
Representatives of Civil Society,
I am most happy to be with you today to celebrate, albeit 4 days late, the International Human Rights Day. The European Union places great importance on this day as it is an opportunity to highlight and promote the fundamental values which are dear to our global society.
The International Human Rights Day provides an opportunity for thoughts and introspection on the vital choices that lie ahead of humanity as it continues to seek the best way of living together as a global society.
One of the biggest enemies of human rights is complacency and indifference, no matter where you are in the World. No part of this planet is immunised against intolerance and discrimination, therefore it is vital to reiterate the importance and the benefits of a peaceful environment, of social cohesion, of respect for others in order to prevent a nation - or even a community - from falling into the abyss of hatred and discrimination.
Human Rights Day was established by the United Nations and celebrated as of 1950 to commemorate the UN’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since then, every 10th December is dedicated to recognising these globally recognised values, and the EU has long associated itself to this initiative, the values of which it shares.
This year’s theme is "Stand-up for someone's rights today!" and it reflects well the second reason why we are gathered here today. Declarations and statements are undoubtedly very important but are not sufficient to promote human rights and must be followed up by actions. I am very pleased to announce that today the European Union is going to launch a new Call for Proposals in Zambia under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. Through this call, we are hoping to reinforce our links and partnerships with the Zambian civil society which is the primary beneficiary of this call for proposals. The priorities of this call have been identified on the basis of our Human Rights Country Strategy and will focus on the fight against all forms of discrimination.
The 3 priority areas that have been identified in the call for proposals are: discrimination against persons with disabilities; discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity; and discrimination based on health status, in particular those who suffer from HIV/AIDS. The overall available financial support is 1.1million EUR or approximatively 11mio ZMK of grants.
The European Union is embarking on this initiative with a true spirit of partnership and humility as we also experience similar forms of discrimination and intolerance. These are global issues on which we must all work on together and learn from each other.
Allow me to add that alongside operational projects, the European Union and its Member States are also engaged in continuous political and policy dialogue with the Government in order to discuss issues related to human rights.
Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me conclude my intervention saying that Zambia is well placed to aspire becoming an example of a peaceful country on this continent. It enjoys peace and stability more than many other nations in Africa. With continued commitment and fruitful partnerships at all levels, and with greater inclusivity Zambia can develop better and faster. It should be remembered that only inclusive societies are able to reach their full developmental potential and the EU is honoured to work with Zambia for this common goal
I encourage civil society organisations to apply under the call for proposals and wish all of them the best in the implementation of their projects and actions combatting anti-discrimination!