– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly

24 February 2021

Mr. Secretary-General,


Distinguished delegates,

75 years ago, the penholders of the Charter of the United Nations, dared to imagine a better world. A world, where every nation and every individual, was treated with equal respect and dignity. I quote:

“We the peoples of the United Nations determined…
To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women, and of nations large and small…”

Last year, the Secretary-General reminded us of our pledge to humanity, when he launched his transformative vision, for the future of our Organization.

The Call to Action for Human Rights, outlines the path forward, in this era of extreme inequalities, and focuses on seven thematic areas, which are critical to the enjoyment of human rights, for not just the people we serve today, but for generations to come.

Since the launch of this system-wide initiative, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the parallel threats of climate change and conflict, have exacerbated, pre-existing inequalities and obstacles, to the full enjoyment of human rights. The Call to Action, reminds us that, in times of crises, we must re-commit to upholding our collective pledge to humanity.
All responses to the COVID-19 pandemic must be shaped by, and uphold respect for, human rights. Stakeholders need to participate in decision-making and provide feedback so that we can identify:
who is suffering the most; why that has transpired; and how we can protect individuals and communities now and when we face the next global challenge.


Dear colleagues,

The Call to Action, recognises human rights, as central to confronting our most pressing issues, and meeting the targets of the 2030 Agenda. Sustainable development and human rights, are symbiotic: we simply cannot make gains in one area, if we neglect the other.

In times of crisis, conflict, peace and pandemic, a human rights-based approach, is the right approach.

I am confident that, by working together, to uphold the indivisible human rights, and dignity of everyone, everywhere, we will fulfil our pledge, “to leave no one behind” and create safer, more equal, just and sustainable societies.

With these thoughts and hopes, I would like to thank all of you for being with us this morning to discuss such a pivotal issue of our Organization, and like everyone in this Hall, I am looking forward to hearing the briefing by the His Excellency Secretary-General now.

I thank you.