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70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [editar]

Statement by Fundación Secretariado Gitano ahead of the 70th anniversary of Human Rights Day on 10 December 2018



10 December 2018 is the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) wishes to celebrate this historic moment and reflect on its current validity.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a document that marks a milestone in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives of all regions of the world with different legal and cultural backgrounds, the Declaration was proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in Paris, on December 10, 1948, as a common ideal shared by all peoples and nations. And what is more important, it is at the base of international law on human rights, which in turn must be respected by the laws and national practices of all States.

The Universal Declaration is as relevant today as it was on the day of its proclamation. Its context of origin was the post-war period, a moment of material and political devastation throughout Europe and other regions of the world, and the trauma of the Nazi holocaust, which was the most extreme exponent of racism and intolerance, leaving millions of victims in their extermination camps: Jewish people, Roma, LGBT, people with disabilities, etc.

In addition we want to point out the coincidence with the 40 years of the Spanish Constitution, and its reference to the Universal Declaration: in its article 10, where the dignity of the person is recognized, it states that "the norms related to fundamental rights and the freedoms that the Constitution recognizes will be interpreted in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international treaties and agreements on the same matters ratified by Spain".  On the other hand, article 27, on the right to education, seems fundamental to us, since the existence of many segregated centers where Roma students are concentrated demonstrates that this right has not yet been fully guaranteed to the entire Spanish population in conditions of equality and quality.

Seventy years after this Declaration, we see in Europe and other countries of the world the rebirth of political and social movements of intolerance and racism, which point to migrants or ethnic minorities as responsible for the current social problems, and that incite hatred and discrimination. The rise of these groups and discourses is really worrying.

From the Fundación Secretariado Gitano we have a clear and determined commitment from our origin in the defense of Human Rights. One of the ways to promote this defense is interculturality, which is a key value for the mission of our Foundation, taking into account the coexistence of cultures and identities as an element of social cohesion. Our experience has shown that coexistence, the day-to-day work of Roma and non-Roma people enriches us all, reduces our prejudices and stereotypes, and allows richer and more varied approaches in our projects.

The contribution of Roma people to the Spanish (and world) culture and society can only be appreciated and valued in its proper measure from this intercultural perspective. Coexistence and exchange are characteristic of all societies, and in fact in all countries of the world there are different cultures, languages and traditions.

For all these reasons, and directly linked to the 10th of December as the International Human Rights Day, on this day we organise  our Dialogues for Interculturality in Barcelona, a space for debate and reflection on interculturality as a new framework for the relations among citizens and a tool for a better defense of human rights. This is another example of FSG's commitment to the fight against discrimination, and to the defense of equal opportunities, human rights and an intercultural approach, and it is our way of celebrating this milestone that marks the seventieth anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights.