THE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL TO LIBYA GHASSAN SALAME MESSAGE ON HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 10 December 2018
Human Rights Day this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a landmark document that establishes, in its first article, that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. The declaration set the foundation for social, political, economic and cultural rights and unleashed the power of women’s full participation.
It was seven years ago that the Libyan people rose up demanding these same rights, calling for a democratic transformation, for freedom, justice and rule of law. This demand remains unrealized and pertinent till this day. Attaining one’s rights is not a one-day endeavor, nor one-month or even one-year struggle. It requires daily persistence and determination. It is not a one-person pursuit but requires collective action.
We cannot stand idle while civilians continue to bear the brunt of the fighting and lawlessness in Libya; while executions, abductions, unlawful detention and torture have become part of everyday life; while women continue to face discriminate measures against their freedom of movement and threats against their physical safety; while those who dare to speak out are often harassed, persecuted and even killed.
On this day, I salute the activists who lost their lives upholding human rights in Libya and those defenders risking their lives every day to protect people in the face of hatred and repression. It is up to us. It is up to me. It is up to you. In fact, it is up to everyone in every Libyan city and town to raise their voice for human rights, for the protection of civilians, for the establishment of law and order and ending impunity and for the empowerment of women as equal partners in building this country.
Lasting peace, development and prosperity can never be achieved without respect for human rights. As the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said, “Let us put the Universal Declaration’s powerful words into action.” Let us stand up and speak out for human rights.