On that day, in 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - a key document setting international standards for the protection of human rights.
Despite the fact that the Declaration was adopted 72 years ago, human rights are still violated in many places around the world. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the international community with new challenges in this area. The unprecedented health crisis is sometimes used as an excuse to limit human rights, including the most vulnerable people and those living in armed conflict zones. Therefore, the theme of this year's celebration of International Human Rights Day is to ensure that, after a pandemic, human rights are of particular concern and the foundation of a better future.
Poland treats the need to protect human rights as a priority, including in particular the rights of the weakest. Despite the limitations related to the ongoing pandemic, the year 2020 has therefore resulted in many initiatives for human rights undertaken by Poland, which will be continued in the coming years.
This year and in the following two years our country - due to its membership in the UN Human Rights Council - has a special opportunity to do so. Poland uses its membership in the Council to undertake consistent actions for the full realization of human rights, in particular the rights of children, people with disabilities or belonging to religious minorities.
Poland also continues to fight for the development of civil society in places where its activity is hindered or brutally suppressed. We strongly call for the protection of civil society in Belarus, which demands respect for its fundamental rights, including freedom of opinion, expression and assembly.
We remind you that in November this year. Minister Zbigniew Rau was the host of the international Ministerial Conference for the Freedom of Religion or Beliefs. Moreover, every year the Minister of Foreign Affairs awards the Pro Dignitate Humana award to a person or organization particularly involved in the protection of human rights. This year's laureate - Elman Peace and Human Rights Center from Somalia - was awarded for actions for lasting peace and support for marginalized social groups and for preventing radicalization and violent religious extremism.
For more information on celebrating this year's International Human Rights Day, please visit the United Nations website: www.un.org/en/observances/human-rights-day .
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