The focus of this year’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights Day is the role of young people in leading global change.
Your Excellency Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission,
Allow me to begin by thanking you for your continuing efforts to realize the rights stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all people in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on10 December 1948 after the horrific Second World War; it was a call for peace, stability and respect of human dignity. The document was the product of 18 months’ work with members and advisers from all across the world including Saudi Arabia.
The focus of this year’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights Day is the role of young people in leading global change. With an estimated 1.2 billion people aged 15 to 24 years old, young people account for one out of every six people. There are more young people alive today than at any other time in human history. They are generally better educated, healthier and have greater access to technology and information that can be leveraged to stand up for human rights.
Young people have always been major drivers of political, economic, and social change. In the last few years, they have been at the forefront of grassroots mobilizations for change. Their active engagement is essential to achieve sustainable development for all. Empowering young people to better know and claim their rights will generate global benefits.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The title of today’s event is “Human Rights Vision for the Future.” Young people under 25, more than half of the Saudi population, are the future. The Saudi Vision 2030 recognizes that young people are significant assets and therefore youth engagement is a priority to achieve its goals. In the same way, young people are essential for achieving the sustainable development goals globally. We must listen to youth, because they are talking about their rights and their futures. They will pave the way for future generations to have a better life.
The protection and respect of human rights is the center of development. This is very important for young people as they may experience discrimination and obstacles to the enjoyment of their rights because of their age. This may limit their potential to benefit from and participate in the development of their country.
As you know, 2020 marks the beginning of the Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals. Attaining the SDGs will be challenging for many countries, including Saudi Arabia. We will only achieve the SDGs through partnerships, strengthened global solidarity, and a commitment to Leave No One behind.
Saudi Arabia has achieved progress in human rights. To continue this progress it is important for us to engage with youth to reach all همة حتى القمة .
With this spirit, the UN is committed to supporting Saudi initiatives to implement its human rights commitments for all and especially for youth. Together, let’s make sure that the benefits of development are shared among all, and that “no one is left behind.”
Goals we are supporting through this initiative
UN entities involved in this initiative
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights