Seventy years ago, on this day, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) reaffirming the dignity, equality and freedom of all human beings.
Today, as one of the first signatory countries of the Declaration, we join the international community in celebrating the progress made in pursuit of these ideals and reaffirm our resolve to further build on these achievements.
Pakistan’s inspiration for the pursuit of human rights are underpinned by the values espoused by the State of Madina, established by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) in 622 AD.
In accordance with the constitution and national laws, our Government is committed to advancing and safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms of all our people. We will continue in our endeavours by enacting additional legislation, strengthening institutional, judicial and policy measures, with a focus on implementation.
Our Government also accords high priority to advancing complementary objectives of development, human rights and democracy to create an inclusive society as envisioned by the Father of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. We will redouble efforts for a society and polity, rooted in inclusion, justice and the rule of law.
This year is also significant for Pakistan as it joined the UN Human Rights Council. Our membership of the Council, for the fourth time, is a testimony to the confidence of the international community in Pakistan, as a consensus builder within the international human rights policy framework.
As we commemorate this day, we must also recognize and demand full respect for the rights of people under continued illegal occupation. This day must also serve as a reminder for the realization of one of the fundamental human rights – right to self-determination – of the people of Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir.
On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we reaffirm our full diplomatic, political and moral support to the people of Jammu & Kashmir in their just struggle for human dignity, respect and inalienable right to self-determination.
Today, we must renew our collective global commitment to unite against the forces of hatred, intolerance and discrimination. Let us work for building bridges of understanding, inter-cultural harmony and inter-faith dialogue. Let us forge platforms of respect for religious beliefs of all. Let us not allow a few individuals to abuse the right to freedom of expression for hurting the sensibilities and sentiments of billions of Muslims.