Spindelegger: "The commitment to human rights is an obligation"
Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger on International Human Rights Day
Vienna, 10 December 2010 – “Freedom of religion is a basic human right. The latest attack on the Christian minority in Iraq is a particularly abhorrent example of the worldwide increase in violence and discrimination against religious minorities, which ought not to be ignored”, stated Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger to mark International Human Rights Day on 10 December.
“Freedom of religion must occupy a central place in the European Union. I have therefore supported an initiative for the protection of freedom of religion and religious minorities at the European level and will also raise the subject at the next EU meeting of foreign ministers on 13 December”, said Spindelegger, emphasising Austria’s international commitment to strengthening human rights. “I shall support the idea that the new EU Foreign Service should also observe the situation of freedom of religion worldwide, submit a regular report and present it to the EU foreign ministers”, he added.
Strengthening human rights has been one of Austria’s priorities During Austria’s two-year membership of the UN Security Council, which will come to an end at the turn of the year. “We have succeeded in integrating our priorities in the human rights sector into the work of the Security Council. According to the Foreign Minister the High Commissioner for Human Rights, for instance, was invited for the first time to address the highest body within the UN at Austria’s initiative. The fight against sexual violence, the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the strengthening of the role of women in conflict situations and of the rule of law have been among Austria’s further priorities.
Austria is currently running for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. “We want to continue pursuing our priorities in the future. Our candidacy for a seat on the Human Rights Council should also be seen in this context”, stated Spindelegger. “The commitment to human rights is a moral and legal obligation. I am confident that Austria, if we are elected and become a member of the Human Rights Council, can continue its active role within the UN as a member of the most important body for the protection and promotion of human rights”, concluded Spindelegger.
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