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FPS Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of Belgium

12/10/2017 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/10/2017 13:24

International Human Rights Day: Belgium remains engaged for the universality of Human Rights

The International Human Rights Day will be celebrated this Sunday. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders underlines at this occasion that Belgium remains engaged for the universality of human rights. In the same way as the High Commissioner for human rights, the Minister unfortunately notes that this universality is being put into question from various sides. This is not acceptable.

On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Human Rights Declaration, it remains more important than ever to do everything that is required to maintain the heritage of this declaration. The Universal Declaration is an engagement from all States to protect and to promote human rights. These rights belong to all, as clearly mentioned in article 1 of the Declaration: 'All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.'

2018 will be marked by the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration. It will also be the last year of Belgium's membership of the Human Rights Council. As member of the Council, our country will continue to actively promote human rights. At the end of February 2018, Minister Reynders will participate again in the High Level Segment of the Council in order to underline the continued engagement of Belgium. He will call all countries at this occasion to collaborate with the 'special procedures(link is external) ', which are the ears and the eyes of the Council. As a concrete support to the oldest thematic special procedure, Minister Reynders invited the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances to hold its next session in Brussels. The members of the Working Group will spend a week in Brussel in early February and meet victims of enforced or involuntary disappearances.

To be credible on the international scene, one must respect its engagement in his own country. Minister Reynders will present next week the first action plan on 'Business and Human Rights' at Bozar in Brussels. He will also continue to closely follow the implementation of recommendations made to Belgium by various international mechanisms.