Following the human rights day celebrations worldwide, Madam Julia Joiner made a statement on the occasion onbehalf of the African Union. Gambisara contacted her in her AU office for an approval to publish the statement, which she approved. I will use this opportunity to advise President Jammeh and his APRC administration that the Freedom Newspaper does not harbour any grudge against them. We direct our comments on your administration because you are the political leaders and vested with the authority by the Gambian People to steer state matters. Please advise your cabinet to respond to members of the press to avoid rumors. Onbehalf of the Freedom Newspaper, I thank Madam Joiner for her cooperation and look forward to mutual cooperation in the future.
Below is her unedited statement:
Fifty-eight years ago on December 10, 1948, The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations and called upon all Member Countries to publicise the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of counties or territories.”
This Declaration has inspired several global and regional human rights instruments, including in particular, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted in June 1981.  Article 25 of the African Charter echoes one of the provisions of the Declaration and calls upon States Parities to the Charter to promote and ensure through teaching and publication, the respect of the rights and freedoms contained in the Charter and to see to it that these freedoms and rights as well as corresponding obligations are understood.
Today, 10 December 2006, International Human Rights Day, the international spotlight is on poverty: Fighting poverty a matter of obligation, not charity.
In observing the day, the African Union wishes to rededicate itself to upholding the standards enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as stipulated in objective (e) of its Constitutive Act: “to encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.
The African Union also wishes to reiterate its determination to take up the multifaceted challenges that confront our continent and peoples in the light of the social, economic and political changes taking place in the world.
Poverty is a human rights issue underscored by the fact that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interrelated, interdependent and mutually reinforcing and that all human rights must be treated in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis.
There should be no more excuse for our peoples to be poor, especially on this continent that is endowed with huge enormous resources.  Poverty undermines our peoples’ dignity and deprives them of access to justice, health, and education, to name but a few.
The African Union is committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which is evident in its Human Rights, Governance, HIV/AIDS, Food Security programs, among others, in fulfilment of the objectives of its Constitutive Act, which underscores respect for democratic principles, human rights, and the rule of law and good governance.
The establishment of specialised institutions and organs within the African Union aimed at promoting peace, social justice, the rule of law and consolidating human and peoples’ rights demonstrates the political will as well as the determination of African leaders and their peoples to make human rights central to combating poverty and ensuring respect for human dignity on the continent.
As we commemorate the 58th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I would like to call upon the international community and our peoples, including community leaders, individuals, the media, civil society organisations to join the AU in its efforts to make poverty history and restore the human rights and dignity of our peoples.  Poverty retards the development of our continent and the actualisation of the aspirations of the founders of the African Union for a united and prosperous Africa .
It is only through our collective efforts that we can achieve the Millennium Development Goals that we have set for ourselves by 2015 and in doing so realise our objective of eradicating poverty within our communities.
Posted on Thursday, December 21, 2006 (Archive on Sunday, December 31, 2006)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI

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