Mr. Liu Zhenmin Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Statement on Commemoration for International Day for Human Rights


Secretary-General Antonio Guterres,
Former High-Commissioners Louis Arbour and Navi Pillay,
Under Secretary-General Alison Smale,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

In my capacity as Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, I am very honoured to participate in today’s event marking the International Day for Human Rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is one of the most important international agreements ever adopted. After about 70 years, it remains timeless and as relevant today as ever. It reaffirms the equal and inalienable rights of all human beings – the foundation to building a world in which people enjoy freedom of speech and belief; and freedom from fear and want.

The Declaration is the very foundation for realizing a shared vision of humanity, and building a world where no one is left behind.

Article 25 of the Declaration underscores the clear link between economic and social development and human rights. It states, in part, and I quote: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services…”. Unquote.

[2030 AGENDA]

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development resulted from the participation and aspirations of all stakeholders. This inclusive approach explains the comprehensiveness and level of ambition of the SDGs, and the Agenda’s strong anchoring in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Indeed, the achievement of full human potential and of sustainable development is not possible if fellow human beings are denied their rights. Nor can there be full enjoyment of human rights without sustainable development.


Successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda is predicated on building the resilience of the poorest, most vulnerable and those furthest behind. Supporting Member States’ efforts to eradicate extreme poverty, create decent jobs, provide quality healthcare and education, and achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls is a top priority for the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

DESA has supported the General Assembly and ECOSOC as well as its subsidiary bodies in formulating rules in promoting the realization of  human rights. One thing that needs to be highlighted is that the Commission for Social Development will continue elaborating issues of poverty and human rights when it meets next month. The theme for the Commission is Strategies for Poverty Eradication to Achieve Sustainable Development for All.

DESA supports Member States in the follow up and review of implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs, particularly through the High-level Political Forum. And we see from the Voluntary National Reviews that human rights and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda will contribute to the improvement of human rights in all countries.

Let’s continue working together to protect and promote development and human rights, to ensure that no one is left behind.

Thank you.

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