Urging end to impunity. Annan sets forth ideas to bolster UN efforts to protect human rights

Addressing vulnerability and promoting security
Jul 21, 2012 | Kofi A. Annan.Secretary-General

Speech by:
Secretary-General Kofi A. Annan,
Time Warner Center (USA)

08 December 2006
'My dear friends,
Thank you all for being here. I could not ask for better company, on the last International Human Rights Day of my time in office, than this group of courageous human rights leaders from around the world.
I don't need to tell you , of all people, that the United Nations has a special stake, and a special responsibility, in promoting respect for human rights worldwide. But equally – and less happily – I don't need to tell you that the UN has often failed to live up to that responsibility. I know that ten years ago many of you were close to giving up on any hope that an organization of governments, many of which are themselves gross violators of human rights, could ever function as an effective human rights defender.
One of my priorities as Secretary-General has been to try and restore that hope, by making human rights central to all the UN's work. But I'm not sure how far I have succeeded, or how much nearer we are to bringing the reality of the UN in line with my vision of human rights as its “third pillar”, on a par with development and peace and security.'

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