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Universal Declaration of Human Rights - 60th Anniversary

UDHROn 10 December, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in the wake of the atrocities of World War II.

 This declaration has become the basic document for the development of the protection of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Now, 60 years later, most of the states have already incorporated the human rights provisions into their national legislation, although their practical implementation – such as it has, unfortunately, recently been the case also in Western countries – often gives cause for concern.

The international criminal courts created in the context of this development clearly reflect the formation of a transnational sense of wrongdoing concerning the violation of human rights. Today, not only states but also individuals can be brought to international justice, even heads of states and governments. The tribunals mostly deal with war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.

"The establishment of the International Criminal Court, which potentially has global competence, was a very important step”, said Prof. Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Director of the Austrian Ludwig Boltzmann Institute. However, he emphasized his concerns regarding the growing number of measures of public surveillance, which are used by many countries to fight terrorism. Manfred Nowak stressed that it was more important to fight the causes of terrorism, such as poverty and despair in Africa, Asia and South America. The renowned UN Rapporteur said that global problems could only be solved on a global basis.

The recently discussed economic and social human rights are still in a rather difficult situation compared to the classical political ones, even though they have been enhanced, inter alia, at the UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993. Yet, the hope remains that the respect for the dignity of the individual, which underlies the Declaration of Human Rights, will, in the long run, gain acceptance in all parts of the world defying ethnical, political and religious barriers. The European Partners Against Corruption will, within its competence, continue standing up for the implementation of the declaration and its spirit, since the unconditional compliance with human rights is an essential and sine qua non part of a modern notion of police.


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