Human rights crucial to peace – official

Luanda – The secretary of State for Human Rights, Antonio Bento Bembe, said Thursday in Luanda that the recognition that the observation of human rights is crucial to peace, development and democracy.

The official was speaking at the opening session of the public debate on the Angolan State’s report on civil and political rights for the years 2013-2017. to be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

Bento Bembe said that since its inception in 1945, the United Nations has overseen the codification of human rights, striving to transfer them from the sphere of political orientation to that of legal obligation.

He admitted that the primary responsibility in the promotion and protection of human rights rests with the member States.

With a view to strengthening human rights at national level, the UN has considerably expanded its intervention in this area.

According to Bento Bembe, the strengthening of international human rights instruments and the growing responsibility assumed by the member states are decisive for the effective application of norms and creation of a global culture of human rights.

“Civil rights refer to individual freedoms, such as the right to come and go, to have one’s own body, the right to life, freedom of expression, property, equality in terms of the law, the right not to be tried outside a regular process, not to have the home violated, ” he explained.

He stressed that political rights and freedoms refer to the participation of the citizen in the governing of society, that is, to participation in power.

Bento Bembe stressed that this assumption concerns the possibilities that people have to decide who and according to which principles to govern.

It also includes the possibility of monitoring and criticizing the authorities, of enjoying the freedom of political expression and press without censorship, of choosing between different political parties.

For the official, the exercise of rights and freedoms gives legitimacy to the political organisation of the society, since it relates the commitment of individuals and groups to the functioning and destinies of collective affairs.

He stressed that the success of a society should be assessed by the rights and the concrete freedoms enjoyed by its members.

“People without political freedoms or civil rights are deprived of important freedoms to build their lives and are denied the opportunity to participate in crucial decisions regarding public affairs,” he said.

The one-day event is tackling issues related to the situation of civil and political Human Rights in Angola, the vision of public institutions, the situation of civil and political rights in Angola, the vision of civil society organizations.

The purpose of the debate is to strengthen the technical capacity of the institutions working to promote and protect human rights, particularly in the gathering of information for the preparation of the State Report.

Promoting mechanisms to defend civil and political rights, disseminating and analyzing the recommendations from the Human Rights Committee, strengthening the technical capacities of members of the civil society, are other objectives of the meeting.

Source: Angola Press News Agency