Build rule of law, equality and governance, says UN resident coordinator
United Nations Resident Coordinator Bruno Pouezat has called for Jamaica to work on building its rule-of-law institutions; equality for all; and transparent, participatory and accountable governance as practical steps to securing human rights for all citizens.
This is the path to security, prosperity and peace for all, he declared yesterday at the Human Rights Day event, Reasonings, Lecture and Art Exhibition in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The event was supported by UN Jamaica, the European Union delegation to Jamaica, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
Pouezat said that rule-of-law institutions offer the confidence of impartial justice and expressed optimism in the recently announced Cabinet submission on the National Human Rights Institution, noting that this will strengthen the administration and enforcement of all human rights.
He called for all Jamaicans to actively engage in safeguarding the human rights of all by taking a stand.
"We are all in this fight together, and all of us can make a difference. In professional functions and in daily activities, in art and in life, I ask you to act to promote peace, fight back against discrimination, and uphold justice," he said.
"We need to mobilise energetic activism in every country where people are still free to raise their voices without fear. We need to seek out new partners and act together to uphold fundamental rights and freedoms," the UN resident coordinator declared.
In a keynote address delivered on behalf of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith by Permanent Ambassador Marcia Gilbert Roberts, all Jamaicans were invited to partner with Government and international partners.
"Let us not stand up only for our own rights, but also stand firm in protecting the rights of our fellow citizens. If we each become our brother's keeper, our own rights are better protected," she urged.
Students of the Edna Manley College also communicated their thoughts on human rights through an art competition for the best visual-art depiction of the articles in the Universal Declaration. First place and US$1,000 went to Sashoy Burey, second place and US$500 to Sasha-Kay Hinds, and third place and US$300 to Kobi Bailey.
Approximately 30 art pieces entered into the competition will be on show at the college's Cage Gallery until January 2019, followed by a nationwide tour in the first quarter of 2019.
The Human Rights Day events were part of Jamaica's Art for Human Rights series, a visual exploration of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration and a call to action to all Jamaicans to 'Stand up for Human Rights'.
The Art for Human Rights series also included a live painting of 70th anniversary commemorative murals at Emancipation Park on December 9, accompanied by drumming.
The Universal Declaration is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A), as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected, and it has been translated into more than 500 languages.