UN Human Rights Chief: We should all have a voice that counts in our societiesListen /
UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay has decried the continued exclusion of women and other minority groups from active participation in public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
Ms Pillay said such exclusion not only denied them the basic human rights, but also services that would give them the opportunity to build a better future.
Speaking in Geneva during celebrations to mark this year's Human Rights Day, the High Commissioner noted that the global share of women legislators stands at about 20 per cent, which was an indicator that women still have a long way to go before they can be said to have been fully included in the law- and policy-making processes that govern every aspect of their lives.
“Many other groups are also struggling to have a greater participation in government and other forms of policy-making. Sometimes, even when a concerted effort has been made to ensure groups are not discriminated against in terms of legislation, the discrimination still persists in practice, creating intangible and self-perpetuating barriers to full participation. Today, I salute all those who have suffered so much seeking what is rightfully theirs — and all those people in other countries who are also saying "we have a voice, we have our rights and we want to participate in the way our societies and economies are run."
The theme of this year's Human Rights Day is 'My voice counts’.
Patrick Maigua United Nations Radio, Geneva.