HL Deb 10 December 1998 vol 595 cc108-9WA
Baroness Turner of Camden

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What their plans are to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [HL304]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Five decades on, the Declaration remains a common standard of achievement for all nations and all people. There can be no better way of commemorating the 50th Anniversary than reaffirming our commitment to speak up for the rights it sets out. Those rights are universal. They apply equally to all people—women, children and men.

Together with many non-governmental organisations, we have taken part in many events throughout the year, including: conferences, seminars and projects to raise the awareness of human rights issues:

the Foreign Secretary delivered a keynote speech at Amnesty International's Human Rights Festival in October, in which he announced a number of important initiatives, including a worldwide lobbying campaign against the use of torture.

the Minister of State (Tony Lloyd) addressed a Foreign Office-sponsored Anniversary seminar at Wilton Park with over 60 participants from some 30 countries.

We are also taking a full part in today's celebrations to mark the Anniversary throughout the world:

the Foreign Secretary attended a national commemoration service in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal at Westminster Abbey earlier this afternoon;

the Minister of State (Tony Lloyd) hosted a reception this afternoon to mark the anniversary;

the Development Secretary is in New York to address a special session to the UN General Assembly today;

the Minister of State (Joyce Quin) is attending today's EU commemorative event in Vienna, where the Presidency will issue a Declaration, including a joint UK/German proposal to publish an annual EU Human Rights Report.