On 10 December 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Since then International Human Rights Day is held every year on 10 December. At this day many events are held to reflect on the human rights situation of the world’s minorities and others who are most at risk from human rights violations.
This year the Republic of Chameria President Festim Lato attended a conference at the Dutch ministry of internal affairs which focussed on how the Dutch government can better implement the human rights principles as they are enshrined in the Universal Declaration into policy.
The speakers of the conference included the Minister of Internal Affairs, Ms Ollongren, as well as the national Ombudsman, Reinier van Zutphen, the Chairperson of the Dutch Human Rights Committee and the Ambassador of the Council of Europe for local policy Mr Harald Bergmann.
President Festim Lato had the opportunity to discuss the situation of the Cham community with several of the speakers and attendants at the conference. The Netherlands has been a great supporter of the Cham struggle for more human rights and the president was glad to hear some of the plans for 2019. The Minister of Internal Affairs announced that she will present a new National Action Plan for Human Rights in 2019 that will provide a new framework for how the Dutch government should implement and integrate the universal human rights principles in its daily work and its policy.
President Festim Lato also had a brief discussion with the Dutch national Ombudsman regarding the human rights violations against the Cham in Greece. The Ombudsman is in frequent contact with the Ombudsmen from other countries to assist them in professionalizing their organisation and to share best case scenario’s for help for example with the refugees in Greece. The Ombudsman is an independent official charged with handling complaints by citizens about their government. As the Ombudsman explained in his speech, human rights are at the center of his policy on determining the validity of the claims against the government.
Following this conversation the president contacted the Greek Ombudsman and filed an official complaint concerning the human rights violation against the elderly Cham who were born in Greece but are not allowed to cross the border due to harassment and discrimination by the Greek border officials. This complaint was also discussed at the European Parliament and the president is hopeful that the Greek Ombudsman can act in a neutral and independent manner in order to address this discrimination against the Cham in Greece.