Dec 10

Human Rights Delegates Share Insights with EDA Students on Anniversary of UN Human Rights Declaration

Dec 10, 2019

The Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA) welcomed delegations from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), who delivered a stimulating lecture for the Academy’s students, on the 71st anniversary of the UN Assembly’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The ‘Overview of the Work and Mechanisms of the OHCHR’ lecture highlighted the pivotal role  commissioners play in facilitating human rights in collaboration with intergovernmental organisations, international NGOs and research institutions focused primarily on issues such as human rights, counter-terrorism, prevention of violent extremism, refugees, migration, the rule of law and political analysis.  

His Excellency Bernardino León, Director General of EDA, said: “It has been 71 years since the United Nations Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; a milestone in the history of human rights. Human Rights Day, which is observed every year on 10 December, is an extremely significant anniversary for all of us even today, because the principles enshrined in the Declaration in 1948, are still just as important. Despite progress made since 1948, even today, millions of people around the world are facing challenges as victims of inhumane and adverse circumstances”.

His Excellency elaborated: “Our shared humanity is rooted in the universal values outlined in the declaration and proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly. It was therefore vital for EDA to host the Human Rights Officers from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the anniversary of this monumental declaration.”

The Director General added: “Through equipping our trainee diplomats with the necessary knowledge and skills, we can empower them to continue the UAE’s crucial role in building bridges of cooperation with other countries, while upholding humanity and justice.

“As diplomats, it is our duty to promote kinship among all human beings, remain resolute against violence and brutality, and stand up for human dignity, equality and peace.”

In his address to the students at the highly interactive lecture, Assad Salih, Human Rights Officer assigned with the Middle East and North Africa Section at the OHCHR, said: “It was particularly insightful to present this lecture to the Academy’s students. We believe it is important to engage with students about our mechanisms, and encourage a deep dive into the document that proclaimed the inalienable rights of every human being, regardless of their colour, religion, gender and other status.” Salih has also served as Special Assistant to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Western Sahara. 

For his part, Mohammad Ali Alnsour, Chief of the Middle East and North Africa Section at the OHCHR, said: “Welcoming us on this globally observed anniversary truly reaffirms the Academy as a centre of excellence that prioritises the knowledge and skills of future diplomats, who will one day not only represent this country in locations around the world, but may also have an impact on decisions that can leave a footprint on communities around the world.”

He added: “It is key for EDA students to gain a thorough understanding of the Human Rights declaration itself, as it not only affects us all, but also impacts political movements, governmental negotiations and decisions formulated by policy makers.”

In his eventful career, Alnsour has served as Director at the Legal Department of the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was Human Rights Advisor to the Jordanian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.