The U.N.’s top human rights official, Volker Türk, appealed Friday for $452 million to fund the critical work of the high commissioner’s office in protecting and defending human rights throughout the world this year.
The high commissioner’s office is the guardian and defender of human rights. It is the global watchdog of abuse and violence. As such, it puts the spotlight on violators of human rights to pressure a change in bad behavior.
In his appeal to donors, human rights chief Volker Türk noted there can be no durable peace nor sustainable development without human rights. He said it was important to bring human rights to life in every part of the world to achieve stability and attain justice.
“We need to insist on action–globally, regionally, and domestically—so that we address inequalities, that we strengthen social protections, that we eliminate discrimination in whatever form, and other root causes of conflict, and that we address environmental crises and misery,” said Türk.
The high commissioner’s office has a difficult task. There are many egregious human rights crises that need to be addressed. They include Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the deadly protests in Iran, the continued internment of more than a million Muslim Uyghurs in so-called reeducation camps in China’s Xinjiang region, and the Islamist insurgency in Africa’s Sahel region.
Türk emphasized protecting human rights is essential in combatting these ills. He said human rights are at the core of the United Nations charter and guide the world body’s principles and purposes.
“We know that now more than ever, we need human rights to keep the world stable and provide us a roadmap for a better future as part of the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human rights) 75 initiative and beyond,” said Türk.
This year is the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or UDHR. High Commissioner Türk said he plans to use the anniversary to bring the words of that seminal document to life.
He is urging donors to support his appeal for funding so his office can strengthen its ability to provide a better future for all.