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Public Papers - 1989

Paris Economic Summit: Declaration on Human Rights

1989-07-15

In 1789, the rights of man and of the citizen were solemnly proclaimed. Just over forty years ago, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which have been further developed and codified and are now embodied in the Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

We reaffirm our commitment to freedom, democratic principles and human rights. We reaffirm our belief in the rule of law which respects and protects without fear or favour the rights and liberties of every citizen, and provides the setting in which the human spirit can develop in freedom and diversity.

Human rights are a matter of legitimate international concern. We commit ourselves again to encouraging and promoting universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Looking towards the future, we see opportunities as well as threats; this impels us to pledge our firm commitment to uphold international standards of human rights and to confirm our willingness to reaffirm them and to develop them further.

We stress the protection of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and of freedom of opinion and expression; for without these freedoms, other rights cannot be fully realised.

We stress also respect for the rule of law and the plurality of opinion, for without them there can be neither representative government nor democracy.

We believe equally in freedom of association in a pluralist society.

We hold that the right of each individual to physical integrity and dignity must be guaranteed. We abhor and condemn torture in all its forms.

We believe that all human beings must act towards each other in a spirit of fraternity.

We believe that everyone has a right to equality of opportunity as well as to own property, alone or in association with others. Extreme poverty and exclusion from society violate the dignity of everyone enduring them. Those who suffer or are in need should be supported.

We stress that the rights of the child, the disabled and the elderly require special protection.

We consider that developments in the human sciences, for instance the progress achieved in genetics and organ transplantation, must be applied in accordance with all human rights if the dignity of human beings is to be preserved.

We, the present generation, have an obligation to ensure that further generations will inherit a healthy environment.

We reaffirm our belief that these rights and freedoms cannot be properly safeguarded without the rule of law, impartial justice and genuine democratic institutions.

Note: The declaration was not issued as a White House press release.

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