Respect for human rights key to peace and prosperity, UN official tells ECOSOC

23 July 2003

The history of the United Nations demonstrates that respect for human rights is essential for the prevention of conflicts and for socio-economic development, the UN’s Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights told the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today during its annual meeting in Geneva.

“The times in which we live tell us that human rights are, and must be, the normative anchors of economic and social cooperation and of a globalizing world economy,” Bertrand Ramcharan said in presenting the agency’s report to ECOSOC.

Mr. Ramcharan said the achievement of higher standards of living, full employment, health, economic and social progress is inseparable from the universal respect for fundamental freedoms.

“It surely must be right to insist on the simple but powerful proposition that the aim of international economic and social cooperation, the aim of governance, is to uphold the core international human rights guarantees. Without sight of the human rights dimension the rest will ring hollow,” he stressed.

ECOSOC has a central role in promoting the vision of a world of peace and justice grounded in respect for human rights and in economic and social progress, Mr. Ramcharan noted. “This is why I appear before you today: with a call to human rights,” he added.

The UNHCR report provides information on developments in the human rights areas of particular interest to the ECOSOC. It concentrates on the human rights dimension of work on the UN Millennium Development Goals, poverty reduction, health, HIV/AIDS, education, food, housing, disability, trafficking in persons and globalization and trade.


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