Mr Türk expressed his deep sorrow that more than 200 Rohingya – who fled military persecution in Myanmar in 2017 – have died trying to cross the Andaman Sea from Bangladesh this year, saying that the Boats used to make the crossings were not only “overcrowded and unsafe” but also “left adrift for days without assistance”.
This year alone, more than 2,400 Rohingya made the sea voyage.
And with no sign of an end to the crisis, the UN law chief called on more countries to help store them.
In particular, Mr. Türk called on states to coordinate proactive search and rescue operations, disembark Rohingya refugees on their territory and ensure their protection.
He also called on regions and countries around the world to help Bangladesh support the more than one million Rohingya refugees who have sought shelter there since 2017.
“A solution must be found urgently to allow the voluntary return of all Rohingya with full respect for their dignity and human rights as full and equal citizens of Myanmar,” underlined the High Commissioner.
Turn the page to a new year
In late 2022, the senior UN official reflected on “the story we want to make for our future.”
“My hope for the next year is that we live our lives individually and collectively with kindness, empathy and unity. About how we treat each other. In our homes, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, [and] online,” he said in his outlook message for 2023.
“History of Hope and Unity”
Mr. Türk reminded that if human rights are not protected “in the small places”, they have no meaning anywhere.
He pleaded for the protection of women’s rights at home and in public, saying women and girls must enjoy “full equality and freedom from discrimination.”
Children’s eyes also need to be opened to the mistakes of the past so they can “write a story of hope and unity” to create a better world where “we celebrate diversity, convinced that we are stronger together than apart.” ‘ he added the UN ruler.
Guided by humanity
He hoped for a future of online opinion protected from hate and disinformation while respecting other viewpoints; respectful disagreements; and diversity embraced.
“Think of the person on the other side of the screen,” urged the High Commissioner, reminding that “there is no place to dehumanize the other through reductionist labels or identity politics.”
“I hope that our common humanity will be our guide.”
Mr. Türk saw human rights as “the force that comes in and unites us” that brings everyone “back to the basics of who we are, to human dignity and to what binds us all together”.
Arguing that one person’s pain ultimately hurts everyone, he stressed the importance of protecting the rights of current and future generations.
“Let us treat our planet with the kindness and humility it deserves. And let’s ensure that action to protect our environment is based on the human rights of all.”
According to the senior UN official, to live in a space where everyone can safely exercise their rights with justice and dignity, it takes courage and the courage to listen and speak out when others are being wronged.
“As we approach the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights next year, let us strive to make the world more dignified,” concluded the High Commissioner. “A world where everyone’s rights are respected”.