This evening I had the honour of chairing at Luton Town Hall at an event to support the United Nation’s International Human Rights Day.
The event was a great success, bringing together our community in Luton to show our town’s support for the work of the UN and the importance of human rights, both nationally and locally.
I enclose the text of my speech to mark the event below.
Cllr. Qurban Hussain
Luton South Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate.
May I welcome you all here today to mark the United Nations International Human Rights Day.
Sixty-four years ago, when the United Nations was formed after the horrors of the Second World War, its purpose was to protect and promote universal human rights.
Three years later the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and it is that we celebrate today on the anniversary of its signing.
In the first article it enshrined the self-evident truth that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
These words not only represent the values of the United Nations, but of our country and our community here in Luton.
We are a town proud of its diversity, our respect for others and our belief that by working together we can ensure a brighter future for our families and community.
Today, while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama argued that we must live in a realistic world.
Accordingly, we must accept that while they were adopted 61 years ago, the values of the Declaration of Human Rights have yet to be fully established.
We sadly still live in a world in which discrimination and hatred ruin the lives of our fellow man.
We have come a long way, but there is still more work to be done.
The words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights though still have to power to inspire and provide hope for our future and today we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that they will one day be universally applied.
As such, it is the duty of all those who believe in tolerance, respect and equality to continue campaigning and working to ensure that all people around the world are able to enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today.
In our own community we must continue to stand up for those who need our help as well as supporting other countries when their freedoms are under attack.
The world we live in today has evil in it which seeks to end the way of life we hold dear.
But it is a world of respect, justice and tolerance and these are the values that the United Nations and International Human Rights Day represent.
Before I introduce our speakers tonight, may I read to you the opening words of the United Nations Charter, heard by men returning from War in Europe all those years ago:
“We the peoples of the United Nations determined: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small”.
I believe I speak for all of us when I say that we as a town are proud to support every sentiment of those fine words.