Prime Minister Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Universal Declaration Of Human Rights "The Universal Declaration of Human Righ

  • Jenny Shipley
Prime Minister

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is both a mirror of and a challenge to our common humanity," Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today in a keynote address to mark the 50th Anniversary of its signing.

Mrs Shipley, speaking at a commemorative church service in Wellington, said New Zealand had taken a strong role in bringing the document to life and fostering its importance over the past decades.

"The Declaration arose from a New Zealand initiative which successfully proposed the inclusion in the United Nations Charter of provisions which enshrined the protection and promotion of human rights as a legitimate concern between nation states.

"We can be very proud of New Zealand's human rights record. We may be a small country but we think for ourselves and we have brought to our international diplomacy a consistent advocacy of human rights.

"This Government has shown a strong commitment to the issue of human rights and I am proud of its record over this last decade in settling Treaty claims issues, in extending equity through the Bill of Rights and in substantially widening the discrimination covered by the Human Rights Act. All have made a real difference to the lives of New Zealanders.

"The values reflected in the Declaration transcend the world's myriad of cultural diversity and confirm our sense of common humanity.

"The Declaration is an inspiration for pursuing our highest ideals and an indictment of where we have yet failed to achieve them. Its enduring power to inspire, guide and challenge us is undiminished after half a century," the Prime Minister said.