Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has honoured individuals worldwide who dedicate their lives to seek truth and justice for those who have been victims of gross human rights violations.
“The right to the truth is both an individual and a collective right. Each victim has the right to know the truth about violations against them, but the truth also has to be told more widely as a safeguard to prevent violations from happening again,” Mr. Ban said in a message to mark the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, observed on 24 March.
The International Day, proclaimed in December 2010 by the General Assembly, honours the memory of victims of gross and systematic human rights violations and promotes the importance of the right to truth and justice.
It is also designed to pay tribute to those who have devoted their lives to, and lost their lives in, the struggle to promote and protect human rights for all, particularly Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who was murdered in El Salvador on this day in 1980 for refusing to be silent in the face of violence, abuse and injustice.
“On this day, let us pledge to help victims, their families and society realize their right to truth and protect those who fight to see the truth prevail,” Mr. Ban said.
“The UN supports truth-seeking mechanisms, such as truth commissions, to promote justice, propose reparations and recommend reforms of abusive institutions,” he added, highlighting last year’s appointment by the Human Rights Council of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, which “has contributed to efforts to serve justice, provide remedies to victims, and promote the rule of law.”