Vienna, 9 December 2009 Press release

Spindelegger: "Worldwide protection of human rights is a cornerstone of Austrian foreign policy"

Foreign Minister on the International Human Rights Day

Vienna, 9 December 2009 – "Committed men and women in many parts of the world are still persecuted when they stand up against despotism, for the rights of the weakest in society, or for the protection of minorities. Their courage and their readiness to risk their lives to protect the rights of others deserves recognition and requires our full support", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger in connection with tomorrow’s International Human Rights Day.  

"The consistent advocacy for the worldwide respect and protection of human rights is a cornerstone of Austrian foreign policy. We place our particular focus on the rights of women and children, persecuted minorities, and human rights defenders. To effectively protect their rights, we are using all available forums such as the EU, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, or the OSCE", said the Foreign Minister.

Austria, for instance, pointedly used its membership in the UN Security Council to promote human rights causes on an international level: "Resolution 1894 on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, adopted under my presidency, was an important step toward the effective enforcement of human rights. The fight against impunity for human rights violations in times of war is essential in restoring the victims’ confidence in judicial institutions and to allow for a sustainable peace process", said Spindelegger.

"To improve compliance with human rights, it must also be guaranteed that people around the world are better informed on their rights and basic freedoms. Only then will they be able to actively defend their own rights and those of their fellow humans", said Spindelegger. Therefore, the human rights manual, co-authored by Austria and translated in 15 languages so far, is an important contribution to the worldwide awareness-building on human rights.

Federal Ministry for European and
International Affairs Press Department
Tel.: +43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550, 3739
Fax: +43 (0) 50 1159-213