“Encounter with Stradivari 2018” ~In Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights~

Geneva, Switzerland

It is my pleasure to welcome you to “Encounter with Stradivari 2018,” commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Nippon Foundation has been engaged in the struggle to eliminate the discrimination associated with leprosy for decades, during which time we have also been working with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council. And through this collaboration, the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council have adopted a total of five resolutions calling for the elimination of discrimination against leprosy.

Many persons affected by leprosy have long been deprived of human rights and have faced discrimination in every area of life. For some of them, human rights continue to be a concept that does not seem realistic or relevant. Yet meanwhile, I have also met some brave people who are standing up for their rights.

Human rights are something universal and indivisible and a single action can make a difference. This 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a good opportunity to consider once again what human rights are and how we can promote the principles of the Declaration in our everyday life.

Today, we have with us internationally active musicians who are joining us in support of the principles of the Declaration. They will be performing on Stradivarius stringed instruments provided by The Nippon Foundation and its affiliate, the Nippon Music Foundation. It is an honor for them as well as for us to celebrate this anniversary with you through music.

I hope you will enjoy the beautiful harmony this evening.