10 December, 2019

National Library, Dushanbe

Opening statement by Dr Pratibha Mehta,

UN Resident Coordinator a.i. and UNDP Resident Representative in Tajikistan

Dear Mr. Umed Bobozoda, Commissioner for Human Rights in the Republic of Tajikistan,

Distinguished Guests, colleagues, and partners,

It is my pleasure, on behalf of UN Agencies, to welcome you all in today’s roundtable devoted to the International Human Rights Day.

This year’s theme “ Youth Stand up for Human Rights” is inspired by Young men and women who are globally bringing Human Rights to life by marching, organizing and speaking out for the right to healthy environment…for the equal rights of women and girls…to participate in decision-making…and to express their opinions freely. They are claiming their right to a future of peace, justice and equal opportunities.

It is very timely to focus on role of the youth in the promotion of human rights during the 30th anniversary year of the adoption of CRC and 16 days of activism to stop violence against women and girls, both are reminders of the unfinished human right agenda. This is also the 71st year of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, while a lot of progress has been made in world advancing Human Rights, in the world we are faced with new and very complex challenges of inequality, climate change, globalization, migration which cannot be solved by old ideas. We require new ideas, the ‘can do” spirit of youth and their dynamism, idealism and creativity.       

16 percent of the world population today is between 15 to 24 years and close to 90 per cent of them live in developing countries and they are showing us every day that they are ready to lead, in fact, they are leading and leading on issues which will benefit all humanity.  We are all witnessing the power of 15 years old Greta Thunberg who has galvanized the entire world on the imminent climate challenges of change.  

In Tajikistan, 70% of the population is young. They are the biggest resource and hope to ensure Tajikistan’s continued and sustainable prosperity, peace and environmental health.  But, the government will have to  also invest in the young men and women and in their holistic development.   

Government of Tajikistan has prioritized youth in the national development strategy and the importance of supporting youth skill training, entrepreneurship and social development. But it is equally important to promote youth participation in public policy making, voice their opinions and create environment for them to express themselves and access to information.   

I would like to sum up by quoting the message of the UN Secretary General to mark the international Human Rights Day “Every single person is entitled to all rights: civil, political, economic, social and cultural. Regardless of where they live. Regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, social origin, gender, sexual orientation, political or other opinion, disability or income, or any other status.

On this International Day, I call on everyone to support and protect young people and all others who are standing up for human rights”. Human rights are not just about the declaration, piece of paper if it is about our humanity, way we choose to live, the way we interact, the way we share resources.

UN in Tajikistan stands ready to provide every possible support to the Government of Tajikistan to achieve its goals in promoting and protecting Human Rights of all and creating an enabling environment to promote youth participation and their voice in public affairs and as defenders of Human Rights.

I wish you all very fruitful and insightful discussion.

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