SRSG- Dr. Atul Khare Speech for Timor- Leste
Sergio de Mello Human Rights Awards
I would like to thank the President and Government of Timor-Leste in particular for inaugurating these awards last year at the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the fifth anniversary of Sergio's supreme sacrifice in the cause of peace.
I would also like to thank the President and Government of Timor-Leste for honouring the United Nations and its contribution to Timor-Leste by naming these awards after my illustrious predecessor, Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, who also served as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
As I prepare to leave this beautiful country, it will be remiss of me not to thank the human rights activists, defenders and advocates of Timor-Leste. There is no greater reward for me than seeing national actors taking up the mantle of human rights protection effectively, and being recognised and officially honoured for that effort. I am aware that at times, things happening around you can be disheartening but I urge you to please, continue your good work. While many human rights challenges remain in Timor-Leste, it is encouraging particularly that Timor-Leste is already doing extremely well in some areas, for example, in respecting the rights of human rights defenders, of allowing them unhindered access to prisoners and detainees and permitting them to operate free of intimidation. On this human rights day, when we celebrate the theme of ending discrimination and embracing diversity in a world still plagued by discrimination and intolerance, Timor-Leste remains a beacon of hope for tolerance and non-discrimination. Your efforts will be crucial in this country continuing further along that path towards a brighter future.
Although I will be gone soon, Timor-Leste will always be in my heart.
My helping hand will always extend to its people.
May God Bless Everyone and Timor-Leste.