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On the Anniversary of the UDHR, Al Mezan Calls for Ending Human Rights Violations in OPT

10-12-2007 00:00

Today, which marks the 59th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), peoples and nations around the world celebrate their achievements of promoting and protecting the internationally acknowledged human rights and human values of liberty, equality and nondiscrimination.
Many States cease this occasion to celebrate their progress in promoting respect for their people's human rights.
The occasion offers human rights organizations to re-emphasize the moral and legal obligations placed upon States and the international community towards ensuring full respect for individual and collective rights as enshrined in the UDHR; in which nations united in a pledge to promotion and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms in the world.
Fifty-nine years after the adoption of the UDHR, its ethical and legal status has been reinforced, both as the first human rights document adopted by the United Nations and a document that has become part of the body of Customary International Law embarked on by national as well as international courts.
The UDHR affirms in article 2 that "[E]veryone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind".
It entitles all people to equal rights that must not be affected by the political or legal standing of their countries; including those living under alien occupation.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights seizes this occasion to call for confronting the escalating human rights violations in the Palestinian Occupied Territories (OPT) and elsewhere.
The Center stresses that the reality of occupation or the presence or absence of a political process in OPT cannot justify systematic violations of human rights or collective punishment of the Palestinian people; including its right to self-determination.
Facts on the ground in OPT indicate a persistent, shameful denial of the human rights enshrined in the UDHR under a 40-year-old occupation that has inflicted various kinds of murder and harm upon OPT's population and their property.
Prolonged severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods have infringed upon their life and wellbeing.
Hundreds of patients cannot access hospitals or necessary medicine in one of the most shameful forms of collective punishment.
The respect of UDHR, as well as other human rights conventions, is of utmost significance for ensuring Palestinians' entitlement to universal human rights; including the right to life and liberty, freedom of expression, freedom from torture and inhumane treatment, the right to a fair trial, health and adequate living standards.
The core purpose of the human rights system is to ensure that humans live in dignity, not persecution.
It is for this reason that this system places specific obligations on states and the international community to respect, protect and fulfill the rights and entitlements that established by it.
While human rights violations remain a daily reality in OPT, the international community persists its silence and continues to abandon its human rights obligations towards the Palestinian people, in a clear disregard to the principles of the UDHR.
On the Human Rights Day, Al Mezan wishes to remind the international community of the legal and moral obligations, to bring to an end the reality of violation, and to stop sacrificing human rights for political reasons.
While Al Mezan celebrates the human rights day with all peoples, it condemns all kind of violations of these rights in OPT.
Those are contrary to the letter and spirit of the UDHR and principles of morality and must therefore stop.
The international community is called upon to act effectively to ensure proper respect for human rights and to assist the victims of violations in the world; including OPT.
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