Cao ủy Nhân quyền Liên hợp quốc, Bà Navy Pillay, vào ngày 1/12/2011 đã có bài phát biểu về những bước tiến của cuộc vận động nhân quyền trên quy mô toàn cầu đã diễn ra trong năm nay. Theo bà, "nhân phẩm" và nỗ lực đòi hỏi sự tôn trọng nó, như tinh thần của bản Tuyên ngôn Quốc tế Nhân quyền (1948) được kỉ niệm sinh nhật thứ 63 năm nay, đã trở thành phổ quát với những hành động cụ thể tại khắp nơi trên thế giới:
"In Tunis and Cairo, Benghazi and Dara’a, and later on – albeit in a very different context – in Madrid, New York, London, Santiago and elsewhere, millions of people from all walks of life have mobilized to make their own demands for human dignity. They have dusted off the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and demanded “freedom from fear and freedom from want,” the Declaration’s shorthand for all the civil, political, social economic and cultural rights it contains. They have reminded governments and international institutions alike that health care, and education and housing, and access to justice, are not commodities for sale to the few, but rather rights, guaranteed to everyone, everywhere, without discrimination.
In 2011, the very idea of “power” shifted. During the course of this extraordinary year, it was wielded not just by mighty institutions in marble buildings, but increasingly by ordinary men, women, and even children, courageously standing up to demand their rights. In the Middle East and North Africa, many thousands have paid with their lives, and tens of thousands have been injured, besieged, tortured, detained, and threatened, but their newfound determination to demand their rights has meant they are no longer willing to accept injustice.
Although we must mourn the lives of many, including -- just in recent days – during the remorseless assault on various towns and cities in Syria, in renewed excessive use of force in Cairo and in efforts to subvert the elections taking place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we also have cause to celebrate.
The message of this unexpected global awakening was carried in the first instance not by the satellites of major media conglomerates, or conferences, or other traditional means – although these all played a role -- but by the dynamic and irrepressible surge of social media.
The results have been startling.
By the end of this first year of the global awakening, we have already seen peaceful and successful elections in Tunisia and, earlier this week, in Egypt -- where the turn-out for the first truly democratic elections there for decades has exceeded everybody’s expectations, despite the shocking upsurge in violence in Tahrir Square..."
Opening remarks by UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay at the “Celebrate Human Rights” Press Conference Geneva, 1 December 2011