Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
It is a great honour for the United Nations Office at Geneva to again host the annual Human Rights Concert. This concert is an opportunity to reflect upon the importance of fundamental human rights, and at the same time celebrate our common humanity through music, an art form that can transcend barriers.
This year the United Nations marks Human Rights Day with the theme “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All” and launches a year-long campaign to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 2023. The principles enshrined in the Declaration are just as important today as they were in 1948, yet people around the world still see their rights and freedoms unrecognized, withheld or violated.
While our world today faces a number of challenges and crises, the Universal Declaration acts as an anchor for humanity, reminding us of our commitment to human dignity. It is us up to all of us to defend and advocate for the rights and freedoms to which every single human being is entitled.
As we enjoy the talent of world-renowned pianist Maestro Grigory Sokolov this evening, I invite you to reflect upon how we can stand up for human rights in our daily lives. I thank the ONUArt Foundation, its President, Ambassador Juan Antonio March, and their partners for again bringing this much-loved concert to the Palais des Nations.
H.E. Tatiana Valovaya
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
Colleagues and friends,
Music has transformative power. For centuries, across all regions of the world, music has been integral to struggles for human rights and freedom, and has been used to protest injustice, advocate for change, and reach out to those who may not otherwise be heard.
Music is a universal language that can evoke emotions, tell stories, and inspire us to think and act in new ways.
Today, we will hear timeless music written hundreds of years ago yet infused with new life and modern sensibility for a contemporary audience.
You will agree that this is a fitting tribute for the celebration of Human Rights Day. It is also a welcome beginning to the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that we are looking forward to next year.
Like music, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is transformative, universal and timeless. And like music, its interpretation and application must be renewed and revitalized by today’s generation to meet our current challenges and to forge a common future of dignity, freedom, and justice for all.
My thanks to the musicians and to the organizers of this Human Rights Concert 2022. I trust it will bring us together in unity and hope and inspire our efforts as part of UDHR 75 and beyond.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk
Within the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room, under the magnificent Barcélo Dome, works the most important machinery developed by the international community to promote and protect the human rights of all persons everywhere – the Human Rights Council.
Here, throughout the year, 47 member States and 146 observer States work together with international organizations, non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions and the press to review the human rights situation of every country, address urgent situations of human rights violations and continue progressively developing human rights norms and standards.
I can think of no better way to celebrate Human Rights Day and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights than to hold the annual World Human Rights Day concert in this great Room. It has been only 74 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the establishment of international human rights law. This is a mere second if we look at it with an historical perspective. We have accomplished great things in this short time, but the progressive development of human rights being done by the Council clearly demonstrates that we are just sitting on the tip of the iceberg. There is much more work to be done and many more accomplishments to come.
H.E. Mr. Federico Villegas, President of the Human Rights Council
My words will be limited to convey gratitude and to express hope .
Gratitude to Tatiana Valovaya, the Director General of United Nations in Geneva, and Federico Villegas, President of the Human Rights Council, for for their strong support to this initiative of the Onuart Foundation.
Gratitude to President Zapatero, who is again with us, whose actions have been decisive in the Spanish Government giving Maestro Sokolov the Spanish Nationality last July.
Gratitude to Maestro Sokolov for his constant commitment with the Foundation to perform the Human Rights concert, even in the most difficult times under the Pandemic.
Gratitude to the sponsors of Onuart, in particular La Caixa, Repsol, Banca Santander, Boumatu SA ,General de Banque de Mauritanie and WPEO, Barcelo Group and Enagas , because their financial support has been essential to transform our idea into reality. Gratitude to the team of the Cultural services of United Nations and the Onuart Foundation for their combined efforts in organising this day.
And last, but not least, gratitude to all of you for being with us in this iconic place of the United Nations, sharing for the last time for a few years this historical concert, as the building will close temporary for renovation mid 2023 . The Foundation will certainly continue with its tasks, promoting debates and art initiatives, but the Human Rights Concert in this Room will take some years to resume.
And then hope.
We are all shocked by this destructive war in the heart of Europe, but we need to rely on our capacity to build a better world to regain hope in constructive unions rather than cement the concept of feuding confrontations. We need to be even more determined than ever to claim that weapons are a problem for humanity, as we enter the era of intelligence, and that the need of a new global political architecture, moving towards the “One Humanity” world, is more urgent than ever.
Art can play a role in this task because it reminds us of the sublime dimension of Humanity and impels us to fight for a positive world versus the world of misery and destruction. When we contemplate this marvelous work of Art of Miquel Barcelo, maybe one of the most impressive paintings of the XXIst century, and we benefit of the unique interpretation of Maestro Sokolov, we are convinced of the sublime qualities of Humanity. This grandiosity must also be transferred to the political architecture, moving from the solid ground of United Nations to the new horizon of the One Humanity World.
In the new world, maybe artificial intelligence can help us better develop systems of governance, but the essential thing will be to empower each individual, and to have Human Rights as its backbone.
And we can do it.
We need to keep in mind that the power of imagination is infinite and that we only fail when we stop trying to materialised what we have imagined. With tough determination, we have to urge all relevant political actors to do what we really hope of them; to reach the moment of peace, security and progress for all. We need the world of the future, a world that empowers creativity and innovation.
With this wish, which I think it is shared by all the audience, I give the floor to Nadia Zhdanova, The assistant of the Maestro, who will give you some hints on the different opus the Maestro will play.
Thank you very much
H.E. Juan Antonio March Pujol President Onuart Foundation
It is a pleasure to greet you all again for the IX Edition of the World Human Rights Concert in Geneva. This will be a very special edition as we will have to say goodbye to this iconic location for now, as the Palais des Nations will be undergoing renovation work starting in 2023.
It is also a very special occasion because once again Master Grigory Sokolov will delight us, under Miquel Barcelo’s magnificent dome, with renditions of Purcell, Beethoven and Brahms.
As we look back on 2022, I feel the urgent need to re-read the United Nations Charter and apply its powerful message to our work. The next months will define how the XXI Century will be remembered and we must decide whether we want it to be another century of wars and unnecessary loss of human lives or whether we want to write a history based on cooperation through the multilateral umbrella of the United Nations.
It is a good time to remember these excerpts from the UN Charter preamble:
WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war…
to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and…
to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security…
So be it. Thank you.
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
Former President of Spain
President of Foundation Onuart’s Consultative Council
Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Ground in Gamut in G major Z. 645
Suite no. 2 in G minor Z. 661
Prelude – [Almand] – Corant – Saraband
A New Irish Tune [Lilliburlero] in G major Z. 646
A New Scotch Tune in G major Z. 655
[Trumpet Tune, called the Cibell] in C major Z.T. 678
Suite no. 4 in A minor Z. 663
Prelude – [Almand] – Corant – Saraband
Round O in D minor Z.T. 684 Suite no. 7 in D minor Z. 668
Almand, very slow “Bell-bar” – Corant – Hornpipe
Chacone in G minor Z.T. 680
L. van Beethoven (1770-1827)
15 Variationen mit einer Fuge Es-dur über eineigenes Thema op. 35
Introduzione col Basso del Tema. Allegretto vivace
A due – A tre – A quattro – Tema – Var. I – Var. II – Var. III – Var. IV – Var. V – Var. VI – Var. VII.
Canone all’ ottava – Var. VIII – Var. IX – Var. X – Var. XI – Var. XII – Var. XIII – Var. XIV. Minore
Var. XV. Maggiore. Largo – Finale. Alla Fuga. Allegro con brio. Andante con moto
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Three Intermezzi op. 117
Andante moderato (E-flat Major)
Andante non troppo e con molta espressione (b minor)
Andante con moto (c-sharp minor)
This concert is officially sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
European Union and Cooperation of Kingdom of Spain
This concert has been made possible through the generous support of