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UN rights chief marks 50th anniversary of human rights treaties

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official profile] on Tuesday marked 50 years [UN News Centre report] since the adoption of two prominent UN [official website] human rights covenants which he said have paved the way for international respect regarding individual liberties in civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [texts] work in conjunction with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to secure opportunities for nations and individual to sustain development. Zeid addressed the 31st session of the Human Rights Council [materials] in Geneva saying the treaties ensure "that nations and peoples can live in peace, with development that is sustainable and long-lasting." The high commissioner stressed the importance of the rights of all people as a connection which will stand against division created by inequity and tyranny. He also called upon member states to adopt both of the covenants before the end of the anniversary year. Even though both treaties are widely implemented, 27 member states still have not adopted either document.

The 31st session for the Human Rights Council opened on February 29 and will continue until March 24. The Council takes on topics of torture, religious persecution, child rights, and general obstacles facing the advancement of international human rights. Delegates will hear from UN experts on the worsening situations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Gaza among others. Recently, Zeid has expressed concern over the the rights situation of refugees in Europe [JURIST report] fearing the lack of measures "aiming at protecting these extremely vulnerable women, children and men on the move." The council has also been paying special attention to the rights of children and the conflict in Syria [JURIST reports].

A previous version incorrectly stated that it is the 50th anniversary of the ratification of the treaties. They were adopted in 1966 and did not enter into force until 10 years later, having been ratified by individual countries.
March 3, 2016 2:17 PM

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