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Congratulation by the President of the Constitutional Court, Danutė Jočienė, on the occasion of Human Rights Day

10-12-2021

Every year on December 10, the world commemorates International Human Rights Day. It was on that day in December 1948 that the United Nations General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This Declaration has become the basis for the system of the protection of human rights. For the first time, it enshrined the fundamental innate nature of human rights.

Even if this Declaration had been composed of its first two articles only, it would have become the basis for freedom, justice, and peace in the world:

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

The Declaration, which became a symbol of the progress of humankind 73 years ago, today, even though universally recognised, remains an ideal that is still pursued by all nations and all states, every person and every institution.

Therefore, the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the authors of the Declaration, “it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”, remain relevant today. In other words, seeking light requires concrete action – without fear of burns or failure. The protection of human rights and freedoms is a continuous process, since new areas or aspects are emerging as the world changes. The most important thing is that we never run out of determination to accept new challenges, so that we are not stopped by fear or doubt. I believe that we will be able to abandon stereotypes, forget discriminatory attitudes, and not lose the courage to defend human rights as eternal constitutional values.

Danutė Jočienė
President of the Constitutional Court