Everyone has “the right and the responsibility to defend and implement all human rights", declared Archbishop Silvano Tomasi in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this year.
Archbishop Tomasi described how the declaration "remains the single most important reference point for cross-cultural discussion of human freedom and dignity in the world and represents the customary-law base for any discussion about human rights".
The rights presented in the declaration "are not conferred by States or other institutions but they are acknowledged as inherent to every person, independent of, and in many ways the result of ethical, social, cultural and religious traditions.
While some people may believe that "Human dignity concerns democracy and sovereignty,” this dignity also “goes at the same time beyond them", he said.
The Holy See’s permanent observer also echoed a theme that the Pope has been teaching on recently saying that, “the respect of all human rights is the source of peace.” He elaborated on the point by explaining that “Peace is not only conceived as an absence of violence but includes also co-operation and solidarity, at the local and international levels, as a necessary way in order to promote and to defend the common good of all people.”
"Sixty years after the declaration", the archbishop added, "many members of the human family are still far from the enjoyment of their rights and basic needs. Human security is still not ensured". This sixtieth anniversary, he concluded, should be spent emphasizing "that every person, as an individual or as a member of a community, has the right and the responsibility to defend and implement all human rights".