“We are at the end of a year which has been more than turbulent with breathtaking challenges. The attacks and bombs in Baghdad, Beirut and Paris in November showed this with shocking clarity. So have the ongoing conflicts in many parts of the world, including Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Iraq.
“Today’s world is marked by violations of human rights as well as of racism, terrorism, and political tensions and divisions. One of the very clear results of this are the persons fleeing the oppression, violence and wars seeking protection in Europe and elsewhere. Each of them can tell stories about their recent past that none of us would like to experience in a lifetime.
“While occupied with the refugee situation we should not lose sight of the many others who are also in need of protection of their rights. I was just told a story about a person with a disability who asked to get his old worn out wheel chair replaced with a new one. At the municipality he met a new social worker who looked at his file and immediately turn down his request. Why? Because in the file it was stated that he had received a brand new wheelchair every year for the last five years. The explanation is simple and is called corruption and fraud. The previous case worker had taken the money for himself. This was just one example from that country about massive corruption and fraud in relation to money for the most vulnerable in the society.
Corruption is the single strongest factor undermining and eroding human rights, rule of law and democracy.
“Here at the eve of 2015 looking into 2016 it is the time to insist on the right to a future for everyone. Be it the young unemployed who cannot get a foothold on the labor market because of austerity measures, or the person with a disability who cannot get the support he deserves because of draconian misuse of the funds made available or other barriers, or the person living in one of the many war zones who just long for peace, or the refugee who from one day to the next has to leave everything behind in order to save her life.
All these people have one thing in common: they long for the fulfillment of ‘the right to a future.’ That is what first and foremost is on their minds, and as a global society, we have to do better fulfilling this simple dream.
“I wish all our partners and friends across the world a happy holiday season and a rewarding 2016 where we together will do our utmost to provide hope to others.”