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Human rights: Pax Christi, ending conflicts, nuclear disarmament, safeguards in extractive activities, supporting activists, the 2030 Agenda

Ending violence and violent conflicts to stop human rights violations. Eliminating nuclear weapons. Demanding safeguards in extractive activities. Supporting civil society in their non-violence work for human rights. Promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Pax Christi International made these requests on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which we celebrate today. According to the Organization, the anniversary is “a pivotal time to examine the current challenges” in the face of increasing attacks on the guardians of these universal rights and the “shrinking space in which they do their work”. Ending violence and conflicts: from Brussels, Pax Christi emphasised that, in recent years, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Congo, the Philippines and Mexico “have witnessed large scale human rights abuses as well as violations of international humanitarian and criminal law”. These actions have had particularly devastating effects on “vulnerable groups such as women, children and disabled persons”. Particular attention should be paid to the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” which has been going on for over 70 years.
Human rights are “closely intertwined with nuclear disarmament”, the Organization continued, recalling that the treaty on that matter currently has 69 signatories and 19 states parties. Once 50 nations have ratified or acceded to it, it will enter into force: “It is thus crucial that UN member states proceed swiftly” with its “signing and ratification”. Globally, many people’s human rights are violated daily by the activities of companies exploiting natural resources, such as oil, gas, gold, silver, iron, copper and tin. The international community should strongly advocate for legislation and policies which would ensure that governments and extractive companies are transparent and accountable. Indeed, in 2017 alone, over 300 human rights defenders across 27 countries were killed —double the numbers from 2015. For this reason, Pax Christi called on the international community to step up its financial and political support to human rights defenders and organizations. “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – Pax Christi concluded – is firmly rooted in advancing universally recognised human rights”. Hence a call to “secure and expand resources and actions for” promoting them.

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