International Human Rights Day: Foreign Minister Philippe Goffin confirms commitment to human rights

Today is International Human Rights Day. Minister of Foreign Affairs Philippe Goffin confirms that Belgium remains committed to the protection and promotion of all human rights for all.

Just like the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, Minister Goffin puts all children and young people in the spotlight on the occasion of this day. The past year has shown once again how our young people demand a clear voice in the social debate. Tens of thousands of young people took to the streets to express their concern about climate change and to demand a fair and decisive climate policy. By speaking out for the climate, but also by standing up against bullying, racism and discrimination, these young citizens are helping to shape our democracy. Our young people are a source of inspiration for the future.

2019 was marked by the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Next year, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Two Protocols to this Convention. On the occasion of this special anniversary, our country will organise an international children's rights conference on the implementation of these protocols in May 2020.

At a time when we are highlighting our youth, our attention is also focused on the rights of children who, forced by conflict, social and economic inequality, corruption or climate change, have emigrated to third countries. Some were accompanied by parents or family, others took the step all by themselves. Migration movements will continue in the 21st century as well. The solution to humanitarian crises at the origin of these movements does not lie with one country alone. Sustainable stabilisation of regions affected by conflict, poverty and natural disasters requires a regional and international approach. The three pillars on which the United Nations is built - peace and security, development and human rights - go hand in hand.

Belgium also applies the latter adage in the UN Security Council, where it has been a non-permanent member since this year and until the end of 2020. During its mandate, our country strives to protect and promote human rights, paying particular attention to the situation of children affected by armed conflict and the role and needs of women in peace processes.

On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, our country also continues to be a fervent defender of the fundamental rights of women and girls, who are unfortunately under increasing pressure today.

On this international day, our country confirms its unwavering commitment to human rights. Not only bilaterally, but also in the EU and in international fora, our country will continue to promote rights inherent in all people, regardless of race, gender, nationality, language, religion or any other status. As a champion of multilateralism, our country is therefore once again applying for membership of the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2023-2025.