Speech by the UN Resident Coordinator in North Macedonia, Rossana Dudziak
17 March 2023
"Learning from history is crucial to prevent future problems."
History gives us the tools to learn from the past and identify patterns that now might not be so evident, thus providing an important insight in preventing and solving future problems. Whenever dealing with history, the focus should always be on the “learning”, to avoid repeating the same mistakes, over and over again.
In the aftermath of World War II, on 10 December 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was not only a major achievement in uniting the world in the desire that a better life for all people is achievable, but a major learning tool, with the hope never to witness the brutality of World War II ever again.
The Declaration is a guide encompassing 30 articles that guarantee rights and freedoms, which have been realized for some, while remaining outside reach for others. These include access to education, employment, fair pay, voting rights, healthcare and more; the values of free speech, privacy, and mutual respect irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, or religion are revealed by the Declaration.
This year we will be marking the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and if there was ever a moment to rekindle the hope of human rights for every person, it is now!
We have had our fair share of challenges in the past few years, starting from one of the greatest health crises to the economic and energy crises, the war in Ukraine, and the increasing tragedies and struggles stemming out of the climate change.
Unfortunately, in each of these examples we have shown that we are still not ready to learn from the past and prepare for better future.
Progress is a process and although progress on human rights cannot be denied, that process would have been faster and more efficient if we have had put more focus on learning from the past. If anyone wonders why we need to speed up the process, it is because of the sanctity of life, human life, and the life of all living beings on this planet, for us and for all future generations.
That is why, the vision of the Declaration goes well beyond human rights, even now, 75 years later.
And this is why, in 2023 the UN family will work to reinvigorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, showing the ways it meets the needs of our time, and advancing its promise of Dignity, freedom, and justice for all.
We will revive the focus on a wide range of human rights issues, enshrined in the Universal Declaration, in need of concrete and urgent action. Each month, we will place a spotlight on a different issue, from women’s rights, peace, and justice to climate and environment, aiming to stir up the progress in North Macedonia and globally.
We sincerely hope that our partners will join us in this call to action for Human Rights and to create an environment where no life is taken for granted and no one is left behind.