20 June 2006

Secretary-General Applauds Swatch for Marking Inauguration of United Nations Human Rights Council

(Partially adapted from the original French.)

NEW YORK, 19 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's remarks for the presentation of the "Human Rights Swatch" in Geneva, today, 19 June:

I would like to applaud Swatch for having produced the special version of their famous timepiece to mark this historic occasion -- the inauguration of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

I have to admit being a bit confused when I was told about the presentation of the new "Human Rights Swatch".  I thought people were talking about that admirable NGO we all know -- and which played a significant part in the effort to bring about the creation of the Human Rights Council.  I am obviously referring to Human Rights Watch.

But, in fact, I believe that this confusion is not that serious.  No doubt a "watch" is designated as such in English, because it is meant to watch the time and also to make sure that others are on time.

And, it is exactly in that way that we should use our new Swatch, to make sure that we are all at the right time, the time of the twenty-first century as far as human rights are concerned.

Our work in that area must be synchronized with the most active segment of civil society, of which Human Rights Watch is a very good example.

Thank you thus, Mr. Hayek, and thanks to all of your colleagues who worked to make this Swatch a worthy instrument of such a solemn and happy occasion.  And now, my Swatch is telling me -- and I think you will all agree on that point -- that it is lunch time!

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