Segunda-feira, 12 de Janeiro de 2009

Pedro Krupenski (INGLÊS)

Pedro Krupenski



Colloquium of APPDH - December 19, 2008 at 16:00



Executive Director of Amnesty International in Portugal, the theme of your conference talking about the way this organization over the 60 years of existence, noting the progress accompli but also how much still needs to be done for the consolidation of rights, fundamental condition for the dignifying. And the AI, the whole of their action will continue, for sure, to be heard in their cries of alarm and help APPDH to pursue the noble objectives for which it was created.


Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted 60 years ago has been made much progress with regard to human rights around the world. The Cold War ended, the Apartheid was overthrown and, on the sixtieth anniversary of the Declaration, the first african-American was elected to the presidency of the U.S., a country where blacks were not even the right to vote when the declaration was adopted in 1948 .


The adoption of the UDHR, the most translated document in the world, was a very significant moment in relation to the recognition by world leaders of the importance of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human that is at the base, a world that had just be shaken for the conduct of the Second World War. It took an extraordinary vision and courage to the leaders of sixty years ago such a statement and take outlining a comprehensive set of political rights, civil, economic, social and cultural, for the peoples around the world.


However, hundreds of millions of people were left behind and still do not enjoy their full rights. With its dignity threatened constantly live in a world where there is enormous disparity between the promises of the governments of 1948 and its subsequent enforcement. The brands in the world today are of injustice, of inequality and impunity, with many of national and world leaders to put their own interests and abuse of power before the interests of those they represent.

  Human Rights protects all individuals and their values back to many cultures, the UDHR itself was drafted by people from all over the world. But the greatest threat to the future of Human Rights is the absence of a shared vision and collective leadership.


Many individuals have not yet fully enjoy their rights and have no respect for their dignity properly secured, the captives are in situations of conflict or poverty. However, it is not the fault of the UDHR is that it happens. Are States and also those who failed to protect people's rights. Is because the states and individuals who must correct this situation. In a world divided and insecure, the Declaration is still as relevant today as then.



Over the past sixty years have made progress in several areas, however, the world today remains as susceptible to abuse human rights as when the Declaration was adopted by the leaders of countries around the world.


In the year of the sixtieth anniversary of the UDHR, human rights abuses persist in the world today, with a tendency to:


  • Civilians as targets of governments and armed groups that enjoy impunity;


  • Endemic violence against women;


  • Promotion of torture and ill-treatment as acceptable ways of obtaining information;


  • Suppression of dissent and attacks on journalists and activists;


  • Lack of protection for refugees, people seeking asylum and migrants;


  • Refusal of economic and social rights, and


  • Lack of institutional accountability for violations of human rights.

The human rights crisis in the world today - Myanmar, Gaza, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia - require immediate action and reflect the need for collective leadership of established and emerging powers.

  A regional vision

Many Sub-Saharan African countries now have active civil society and several independent media. However, durable solutions for African conflicts have proven to be difficult to define and develop the bill has been paid to the continuation of abuses of human rights.


Several armed conflicts that have lasted have been resolved, as in Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone and southern Sudan, but the consequences of these conflicts for human rights persist, affecting the political arena, the economy and social development.


The violent struggle for power, even in states that do not come to armed conflict, remains a component of political life in Africa and has resulted in numerous human rights violations and a cross and continue violating human dignity. It has also noticed a lack of political will by governments and inter-governmental organizations to address human rights violations that usually remains the basis of political tensions and hostilities.


The internal armed conflicts persist on the continent and with a devastating impact on many countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan (Darfur) and Chad. The human rights abuses are committed on a large scale by all parties involved in these conflicts, including sexual violence, recruitment of child soldiers and extrajudicial killings.


The police and other officials responsible for law enforcement are rarely held accountable for human rights violations, including arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and other ill-treatment. Recent years have witnessed the beginning of the contribution of international justice mechanisms to ensure accountability for these crimes under international law, but what is being done is not enough.


In many African countries continues to be dangerous or express views critical independent. Groups of political opponents, human rights defenders, independent journalists and civil society in general, all face prosecution.


There is visible progress in respect of the death penalty. African states have become abolitionist in practice or by law, and even the death penalty continues to be applied in several countries, the number of people executed is not great.


Despite the economic growth observed over recent years in several African countries, millions of people still live without access to basic requirements of a decent life, such as adequate housing, education or health care. Political instability, armed conflict, corruption, underdevelopment and lack of investment which contribute to the economic, social and cultural rights are not yet a reality throughout the continent. Hundreds of thousands of people in Africa are in constant movement across borders in search of protection or adequate standard of living, often with great risk to his own life.


Despite significant progress, human rights promised in the Universal Declaration are far from becoming reality for all people in Africa and the dignity of human remains without priority.





Despite all the Latin American countries have signed the UDHR, the governments of a military dominated much of the region between the 60 and the mid-80th This area was characterized by systematic human rights violations such as forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and torture of political opponents.


The end of the military and return to constitutionally elected governments allowed to watch the end of this pattern of violations. However, the hope that a new era of respect for human rights had proved to be reached in many cases unfounded with the emergence of new patterns of abuse.


Those responsible for abuses of power and human rights violations are often unpunished. The equal protection may be contemplated in the law but in practice it is often denied, particularly those belonging to disadvantaged communities such as Afro-descendants and indigenous peoples.


Despite the devastation that was felt in many countries of the region caused by civil war and internal armed conflict, Colombia remains, even today, affected by a large-scale conflict in which civilians continue to be the main victims.


Most constitutions guarantee the fundamental rights and almost all countries in the region have ratified key international treaties at the level of human rights, with the exception of the U.S. (not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the UN Convention for Women).


In particular in the U.S.



The violations committed by the Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and elsewhere have been many and varied, including forced disappearances, torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading (which in some cases even result in death in situations of detention), under the prolonged detention incommunicado, as well as other forms of arbitrary and indefinite detention, secret international transfers of prisoners outside the due procedures ( "surrender"), and trials of blatant illegality. The process of accountability has been lacking and justified as compensation for the victims.


Although more than two hundred prisoners held by the military indefinitely without charge or trial at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo in Cuba. Some face trials by military commissions and procedures that are far from international standards for fair trials. The U.S. government intends to these trials, ask for the death of some prisoners.


Amnesty International called, well, the newly elected president Barack Obama so that, once assumed the post, announcing a plan and a date for closing the prison facilities at Guantanamo to the end of military commissions in favor of federal courts north American standard, to deliver an executive order to ban torture and other ill-treatment as defined by international law, and to support the establishment of an independent committee of inquiry in order to investigate the abuses committed by the U.S. in its "war on terror."


Although the first resolution ever of the UN General Assembly calling for a global moratorium on the use of the death penalty, the U.S. still remain among the top five countries in the world that execute people.


Amnesty International will continue its campaign at the local, state and federal in the U.S. in order to end the death penalty.





Many of the Asia-Pacific states that have adopted the UDHR in 1948, including India and Myanmar (formerly Burma) who succeeded shortly after its independence. For them, a global commitment to a world where everyone is "free and equal in dignity and rights" retains special significance.


"Freedom from fear and deprivation" were also significant aspirations for the citizens of many nations of the Asia-Pacific region who joined the United Nations later: from Laos to Indonesia, Cambodia to Fiji. At first glance the "deprivation of freedom" seemed to find some justification in the growth expulsion of Asia as a powerful economic force. Despite the disparities between the economies of the region, overall, Asia has seen their wealth grow faster than any other region in the world since 1960.


In Asia, are the two most populous countries in the world - China, with 1.3 billion people and India with 1.1 billion. The economies of both states are also among the fastest growing globally.


However, not all citizens have benefited in the same way that economic greatness. Economic growth has been accompanied by widening of the gap that separates rich and poor, exacerbating the attached patterns of discrimination. The challenge of rapid economic expansion this equate to an increase of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights for the poorest of the region remains unfulfilled.


Several ongoing conflicts and violence by armed groups continue to create serious abuses throughout the region, jeopardizing the safety of millions.


Besides being denied a lasting solution to the refugee populations, hundreds of thousands remain displaced by the conflict. However, in many countries security forces have enjoyed impunity for human rights violations for decades, including extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, torture and other forms of abuse committed in the name of "national security".


Political instability and the imposition of military authority - often, through the imposition of the declaration of states of emergency - has undermined vital institutions in protecting human rights, or impairing its reform in several countries. In this year's anniversary of the UDHR, the prospect of an effective remedy for victims of human rights violations in many countries remains an illusion.


Europe and Central Asia


Within a decade, Western Europe had launched those that would be the foundations of a European institution and transformed what had begun as a local community of coal and steel union with a comprehensive political and economic power.


During this period, the Council of Europe drafted the first international legal instrument for the protection of human rights, created the European Court of Human Rights to implement and was a Parliamentary Assembly. Including, now, 47 Member States, the system established by the Council was strengthened with a Commissioner for Human Rights and various monitoring bodies.


The economic communities established in the 50's was developed and constitute what is now the European Union (EU). The EU has expanded in scope, to embrace new members of the former Eastern Bloc, and vision for a "union of values", aiming to put human rights at the heart of its internal and external policies.


The political configuration of the post-war Europe was also behind the scenes of the formation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This is now the largest regional security organization in the world, with 56 participating states, including Central Asia.


However, the route taken by the current situation has not been easy. Over the 60 years of intervention desfilaram military dictatorships in countries like Greece, Spain, Turkey and Portugal as well as several agencies in the Soviet bloc.


Armed groups trying to promote the cause of a particular minority or ideology through the use of force. Conflicts wild shake the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia as they are disrupted. Newly emerged and, with them, ill-defined entities whose statutes are not yet recognized by the international community.


The major human rights challenges remain. While much of the region is stable, there remains a climate of impunity for crimes recently, with hundreds of thousands of people still displaced from their territories without prospect of return in the near future.


Much of the region with promises of increased prosperity, but not for those excluded from fundamental economic and social rights, either by racism or other forms of discrimination. Europe remains a magnet for all those who try to escape the persecution, rape or poverty but they failed with its repressive approach against illegal migration.


Security is of paramount importance with regard to states of this region but, however, is constantly sabotaged by those who think that conflicts with and is more important than human rights.


It is also true that this region which is seen as a reference point in the panorama of human rights still remains a large gap between rhetoric and reality, and application standards, principles and practice. States that are committed on a voluntary basis with the regional institutions, resigned is also on a voluntary basis, of their obligations, attacking and undermining human rights and not being able to find the political will necessary for the resolution of major abuses .


Middle East and North Africa



The implementation of the UDHR have been prevented, since it was adopted by several military and political conflicts that have unfolded in the region. These conflicts include those that accompanied the decolonization of North African States, the wars involving Iraq and the continuing and ongoing conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, all motivated by religious and cultural factors rooted.


Political and social institutions have contributed to the subordination of women under the law and in practice and to discrimination against religious minorities, ethnic and others. Adindo to this, the international engagement in this region has often worked against human rights to authoritarian governments swear or contributed, either directly to abuses such as the policy of the U.S. "surrenders" to illegal prisoners known to States by their abuse.


Most states in the region of the Middle East and North Africa have acceded to the treaties of human rights generated by the Declaration and almost all their national constitutions and laws reflect the majority of human rights expressed in the Declaration. Nevertheless, in practice, they are only small safeguards due to the predominance of the executive authorities and the relative weakness of the judicial and legislative institutions.


It is therefore only now, on the sixtieth anniversary of the UDHR, which becomes an effective Arab Charter on Human Rights. However, four of the five states have been supporters of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights for many years.


The creation of Israel in 1948 as a Jewish state surrounded by Arab countries, coinciding with the year of the adoption of the UDHR, has generated an atmosphere of tension between Israel and its Arab neighbors that still endures. Added to that, caused a friction between Israelis and Palestinians, that after 60 years, and still does not show any signs of moving towards a resolution. Thousands of Palestinian refugees remain in Lebanon and other countries, and Israel maintains its military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by imposing strict control of movement and other aspects of life of its Palestinian residents, while continuing with the expansion of Israeli settlements in violation of international law.


The international community has been unable to end the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territory and find a lasting solution that recognizes and guarantees the fundamental rights of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. The region remains under a dark shadow and is a potential source of conflict at regional and global.


Atrocious human rights abuses continue to spread and worsen in the region. Despite the speeches of a better democracy, good governance and accountability, most power remains in the hands of small elites to pursue free of guilt for those they govern.


The power of the state is maintained by the security services and highly powerful repressing the opposition or debate. Those who express themselves at risk of being arrested and held in an arbitrary manner without the right to trial, and being subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment by security forces, the political leaders who allow the abuse of human rights impunity.


These victims often do not have the means to remedy or correct the situation, because the courts themselves did not enjoy independence and are subservient to the executive powers of the state.


The Future



During this journey in time and space I had the privilege to guide you, I spoke of governments and states that promote the DH or the violation.


Although both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have been signed by governments and states and, as such, these are the primary responsibility for its performance, the violation of human rights and the persistent attacks on human dignity are the result of decisions, actions and omissions all of us. Human Rights are only truly universal and indivisible and human dignity will not actually be respected when we all, as human beings, not only recognize us as holders of such rights, but when all understand our responsibility in its implementation.


Lisbon, 19 December 2008

Pedro Krupenski

Executive Director

Amnesty International - Portugal


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