XII Summer School for Young Diplomats “Gavro Vuković”

Translating the Declaration into the reality for everyone needs a two-fold approach – actions by institutions and by individuals.


On behalf of the United Nations in Montenegro, I am very pleased to welcome you in Kolasin and to congratulate you for being selected as participants of the 12th Summer School for Young Diplomats. It is a great pleasure for me to talk with you on such an important issue - the Human Rights. As I’m sure you all know – it is one of the three critical areas of UN intervention, along with peace and sustainable development.

Basically, human rights are about freedom and dignity – something that all of us are born with, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human Rights include wide range of rights and freedoms, including the right to life, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of speech, the right to work and education, right to fair trial, and many more.

All those important aspects of human rights are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in the immediate post-war period but as relevant today as it was back in 1948. By endorsing the Declaration, UN member countries obliged to uphold and defend these rights and to ensure that those who need their rights protected the most, are aware that this Declaration exists — and that it exists for them.

Eleanor Roosevelt - who oversaw the drafting of the Declaration - named it “the international magna carta of all mankind” not only because it provides the foundation for international human rights law, but also because it gives sense and purpose to being human; it espouses fundamental rights inherent to everyone, irrespective of ethnic origin, sex, religion or any other status.

Translating the Declaration into the reality for everyone needs a two-fold approach – actions by institutions and by individuals.

It’s not an easy task, I’m sure we’ll all agree on that, as we are living in a rapidly changing world facing complex and interrelated challenges. In a response to growing uncertainties, United Nations helped the mankind to pave the way towards better future by enabling people of the world and leaders of the UN member countries to jointly design the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, based on 17 Sustainable Development Goals. By adopting this transformative agenda in September 2015, world leaders committed to leave no one behind. This pledge of UN member countries recognizes the importance of building inclusive societies in which the human rights of all are observed, gender equality is achieved, and life choices for the most vulnerable are provided.

When it comes to Montenegro, I have to say that since its independence in 2006, its cooperation with the UN Human Right system has been very good. The country has ratified almost all international human rights instruments - there are currently no reports pending to the UN Treaty Bodies. Also, Montenegro has been vibrant member of the Human Rights Council, as a full member in the period 2013-2015 and as a candidate country for membership next in the period 2022-2024.

All states, as duty bearers, must put strong emphasis on protecting human rights, and we in the UN team are very encouraged that the Government Montenegro has put human rights at the top of its political agenda, as a key strategic priority. The UN team stands as strong partner to Montenegro on this path. Together with national partners, we seek to improve the lives of people often ‘left behind’ including the Roma and Egyptian community, children, women, refugees and migrants, members of LGBTI community, people with disabilities and victims of various forms of violence.

Dear friends, let me conclude by underlining the importance of active role of all stakeholders: Government, private sector, civil society, academia, and development partners, in fulfilling our common goal – ensuring that 30 principles of humanity from the Human Rights Declaration are translated into reality. In this noble quest, we very much count on you – the future leaders and diplomats.

Thank you and looking forward to the discussion to follow.

UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations
United Nations Development Programme