UN official urges arms control for improvement of human rights

Updated: 2008-04-21 16:23

BEIJING -- The world should enhance arms control while advancing the cause of human rights, said Sergei A. Ordzhonikidze, director general of the United Nations Office in Geneva.

Opening the Beijing Forum on Human Rights here on Monday, Ordzhonikidze said that the United Nations sees human rights, safety and development as its three pillars, and it considers human rights an indispensable base for long-term safety and sustainable development.

"Poverty and rejection of human rights will lead to instability and violence," he said, noting that this relationship explained why armed conflict frequently arose in poor areas of the world.

To ensure people in poor areas enjoyed human rights would help the world avoid turbulence and disputes and promote arms control, said Ordzhonikidze.

He indicated that human rights should include the right to food, water and medical services, apart from the rights involving freedom of expression, economics and culture. However, some people still lacked food, water and medical care.

According the World Bank, rice prices have doubled over the past three years, which pushed 100 million people in underdeveloped countries back into poverty.

"This not only posed a challenge to the human rights of the poor, but also had a negative impact on social stability and global safety," he said.

As Ordzhonikidze observed, in recent years, annual global military expenditures had exceeded $1.2 trillion. In contrast, the international aid programs of certain developed countries were $10 million.

"Therefore, arms control will help us allocate more resources to human rights and help us reach the UN Millennium Development Goals," he said. "Arms control will also boost stability and ensure people can better enjoy and respect human rights."

Ordzhonikidze stressed that anti-terrorism was a good example of the connection between connects human rights and safety. The UN anti-terrorism strategy adopted in 2006 claimed that all anti-terrorism efforts should be conducted within the framework of human rights laws.

The Beijing Forum on Human Rights commemorates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly six decades ago. The declaration has been translated into 360 languages, he said.

Faced by common challenges, the international committee has realized its importance, he said.

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