Human rights around the world "under siege" says UN official

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Mogens Lykketoft . UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

Pointing to the "horrific" bloodshed in South Sudan, a senior UN official is warning that the values that underpin human rights are under siege.

UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft made the remarks during a high-level debate on the human rights.

Jocelyne Sambira has the story.

If today's leaders do not re-ignite their commitment to human rights and reject the rhetoric of division and hate, and address the drivers of inequality hope will give way to despair.

That's what UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft told diplomats at a debate on the status of human rights around the world.

He said that faith in public institutions, in politics, in the rule of law and open and just societies is dangerously low while the repression of journalists and others who question authority is on the rise.

Feelings of alienation and marginalization are leading some towards extremism and violence, he added.

"Just in the past few weeks most recently with the horrific bloodshed in South Sudan, we are being deeply saddened by the violence and terror that robbed hundreds of innocent people their lives and their rights. Such events feed into a broader global context whereby the very values that underpin human rights: tolerance, equality, dignity, pluralism and liberty are under siege."

Seventy years after its founding, he noted, the UN must ensure that it continues to be a bulwark against threats to human rights.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’12″

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