UN Marks 20th Anniversary of Human Rights Declaration
December 10, 2013
UNITED NATIONS — On this year’s International Human Rights Day, on December 10, the United Nations will mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Vienna Declaration, committing states to the promotion and protection of human rights for all and creating the post of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Some things in life may be taken for granted, such as the ability to receive an education, but as the Taliban attack on teen activist Malala Yousafzai taught the world last year, school is a right that can't be taken for granted.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 57 million children worldwide do not attend school. Many of them live in conflict zones, and most are girls.
“No child should have to die for going to school. Nowhere should teachers fear to teach or children fear to learn,” said Ban.
The right to an education, the rights of children, the elimination of violence against women, and the eradication of poverty were envisioned for all people by the Vienna Declaration.
U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović said the 1993 declaration was a game changer.
“It was an event that really moved human rights to the forefront of the global agenda,” said Šimonović.
However, despite advances, Human Rights Watch’s Philippe Bolopion pointed out that the fight still continues.
"On a day like today, it is hard not to think about civilians trapped in Syria or in the Central African Republic who probably feel that the international community is failing them. And they are right. Despite all the progress we have seen at the U.N. in terms of putting human rights to the front, there are still tragic failures and it is often civilians who are paying the price,” said Bolopion.
Šimonović maintained that human rights abuses are often the first sign of conflict.
“If we act timely, we might be able to prevent them. The Secretary-General is just right now rolling out a new action plan called Rights Up Front. It puts human rights in the center of prevention of emerging conflict,” explained Šimonović.
Governments are responsible for protecting human rights, yet in Syria and the Central African Republic, the authorities are among those accused of atrocities.
HRW’s Bolopion recently visited the CAR and said he met many people whose relatives were killed by former rebels who are now in power.
“Too often it is the governments themselves who are responsible for very serious abuses against their population, and when that happens they need to be stopped by the international community,” said Bolopion.
On International Human Rights Day, the U.N. is honoring five rights defenders, including a Moroccan journalist and Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai.
commit (v) 使承擔義務；把...付諸XXXXX*如新聞中用法，常與介詞 ”to” 搭配使用：commit somebody to something 「把某件事託付給某人」
post (n) 職位；職守
eradication (n) 根除；消滅
envision (v) 想像，展望
十二月十日為國際人權日 (International Human Rights Day)，今年也是簽署維也納宣言 (Vienna Declaration) 的二十周年紀念日。這個宣言將促進與保障世界人權的責任托付予 (commit) 各國，也創設了人權高級專員 (High Commissioner for Human Rights) 的職位 (post)。
維也納宣言所展望 (envision) 的目標有：受教育權、孩童權利、消除 (elimination) 對女性的暴力、消除貧窮 (eradication of poverty)。
forefront (n) 最前方，最前列
abuse (n) 虐待，侵犯
roll out (v phr) 推出
聯合國人權事務助理秘書長席蒙諾維奇 (Ivan Šimonović) 表示，1993年的宣言是一個重大的轉捩點 (game changer)：「這真正是把人權議題放到了最前線 (forefront)。」
蒙諾維奇也說到，社會衝突的最初表徵 (the first sign) 通常就是對人權的侵害 (abuse)：「如果我們及時行動，或許就能避免社會衝突。「Rights Up Front」是秘書長推出 (roll out) 的行動計畫 (action plan)，行動的中心任務就是維護人權，以此避免可能發生的社會衝突。」
atrocity (n) 暴行
rebel (n) 造反者；反抗者
defender (n) 防禦者；守衛者
政府的責任是保障人權。然而在敘利亞和中非共和國，政府當局卻也是被指控為加入施展暴行 (atrocities)的一夥。人權觀察組織 (Human Rights Watch) 的菲利普波洛近日到訪中非並會見許多人士，前反抗政府者 (former rebels) 在掌權後卻殺害了他們的親人。他說：「一個國家中的人民受到嚴重侵害時，政府當局往往就是始作俑者；當這樣的情事發生時，國際社會 (international community) 就必須出面遏止。」
Check your vocabulary!
Fill in the blanks with a word or phrase from the list above. Make necessary changes. After you finish, select the text below to reveal the hidden answers.
1. The company has always been at the forefront of science and technology.
2. The aggressors committed appalling atrocities.
3. He has clearly committed his government to continuing down the path of economic reform.
4. Anti-government rebels attacked the town.
5. He envisions a day when every household will have access to the Internet.