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Today, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and representatives of 13 countries from around the world, together with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, joined forces launching a cross-regional endeavour to promote and protect universal human rights, named the “Good Human Rights Stories Initiative.”
The participants agreed to promote, among themselves and others, a positive narrative on human rights through sharing good human rights policy examples. These are based on concrete experiences and best practices, and draw on the wide range of priorities where human rights find an articulation, such as sustainable development, gender equality, social inclusion and resilience, and peace and security.
The participants agreed to meet regularly to discuss different policy priorities and the positive ways in which the promotion and protection of human rights, engagement with civil society and independent human rights institutions at national and multilateral levels can fulfil those priorities. They also agreed to foster human rights-minded partnerships among members and with other partners sharing their vision.
In today's launch event, taking place in the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly Ministerial week, the High Representative/Vice-President, Ministers of Foreign Affairs or Representatives of Argentina, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chile, Georgia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Republic of Korea, The Gambia, Tunisia and Uruguay jointly declared:
“The United Nations international human rights framework is indispensable to tackle the challenges we are faced with today, including the realisation of sustainable development, peace and security, gender equality, and social resilience and inclusion.
“Today, we come together to reiterate our respect for all human rights -- civil, political, economic, social and cultural -- as a fundamental value and a central principle of our domestic and international actions.
“It is with a shared belief in human rights and a collective sense of responsibility that we pledge to continue improving our own human rights record and to support those who, like us, wish to build and promote ever-more resilient democracies and peaceful and inclusive societies, through identifying and sharing concrete "good human rights stories" and practices.
"Those stories will encourage sustained efforts to improve policies and practices regarding human rights and foster national and cross-regional engagement in the service of the universality, indivisibility and inalienability of human rights.
“We recommit to promoting fundamental government priorities, such as sustainable development, security, social justice, reduced inequalities and resilience, gender equality, non-discrimination and inclusiveness, in our countries and globally, based on the respect for universal human rights and human dignity, good governance and the rule of law, and open and free consultations with all our citizens, also pursuant to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“We strive for continuous human rights progress and renew our pledge to support and cooperate with the UN human rights system, aspiring to work closely with UN Special Procedures; commit to building and safeguarding strong and independent national human rights-related oversight institutions; and affirm our belief in the benefits of regular and open consultations with an independent and vibrant civil society, both nationally and in regional and multilateral fora.
"We fully support the UN Secretary General's pledge marking the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the commitment to “stand up” for everyone’s rights."
The Good Human Rights Stories Initiative aims to complement the important work being carried out by different human rights bodies, including the Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly Third Committee, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as other good governance and sustainable development initiatives at national, regional and multilateral levels.
The initiative is launched in the year that marks the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 25th Anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and the 20th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, all of which are of vital importance in striving for a more peaceful world.