6 December 2007
Dignity and Justice for All of Us:
Anniversary Year of Universal Declaration of Human Rights Kicked off in Central Europe
VIENNA, 6 December (UN Information Service) - "Dignity and Justice for All of Us" is the theme of a year-long global campaign to be launched by the United Nations on 10 December, Human Rights Day 2007, to mark the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the year 2008.
"The campaign reminds us that in a world still reeling from the horrors of the Second World War, the Declaration was the first global statement of what we now take for granted -- the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings," says United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on Human Rights Day 2007. "The Declaration remains as relevant today as it did on the day it was adopted. But the fundamental freedoms enshrined in it are still not a reality for everyone. Too often, Governments lack the political will to implement international norms they have willingly accepted. This anniversary year is an occasion to build up that will. It is a chance to ensure that these rights are a living reality -- that they are known, understood and enjoyed by everyone, everywhere".
In Central Europe, civil society organizations and the United Nations are initiating a number of events on or around 10 December, to mark the beginning of the commemorative year.
The United Nations Association of Austria, in cooperation with the Center of Legal Research is organizing a symposium at the Austrian parliament on 10 December, to mark the beginning of the year of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The symposium, held under the auspices of the Second President of Parliament Dr. Michael Spindelegger, will be moderated by the former Foreign Minister of Austria and Acting President of the United Nations Association of Austria Dr. Willibald Pahr. Secretary of State Dr. Hans Winkler will give a keynote address, and speakers include Professor Dr. Franz Matscher (asylum and the protection of Human Rights), Professor Dr. Konrad Liessmann (environmental protection and Human Rights) and Member of Parliament Theresia Haidlmayr and Professor Dr. Adrian Eugen Hollaender (rights of persons with disabilities). Former Minister of Justice Professor Dr. Hans R. Klecatsky will conclude the discussion. The Director of the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, Nasra Hassan, will deliver the Secretary-General's message on Human Rights Day.
In Hungary, a major scientific conference titled "The Institution of Parliamentary Commissioner and the Protection of Human Rights in Hungary" was held by the United Nations Association (UNA) of Hungary, in cooperation with the Parliamentary Commissioners' Office. The event was held on 3 December at the Hungarian parliament, as the opening event of the anniversary year. The conference was opened by László Mandur, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament. Keynote speakers included Professor Mihály Simai, President of the UNA and the Parliamentary Commissioners for Civil Rights, National and Ethnic Minorities Rights and for Data Protection and Freedom of Information.
The United Nations Association (UNA) of Slovenia will hold its celebration of Human Rights Day on 12 December, with a focus on the universality of Human Rights. A panel with prominent expert speakers will discuss the nature of the established human rights regimes at the international, regional and national levels, including the United Nations, the European Union and Slovenia. To engage children and youth with this important issue, the UNA is also holding an essay, drawing and photography exhibition, from which selected entries will be presented at the Human Rights Day event.
The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Prague, Czech Republic, on the occasion of Human Rights Day, is co-organizing a project aiming to support women in the public sector and government, in cooperation with the organization Forum 50%, and on 10 December is co-hosting a workshop on Human Rights in the 21st Century, in cooperation with the Czech Helsinki Committee.
The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Bucharest, Romania, in partnership with Cotidianul daily newspaper, will open a cartoon exhibition on Human Rights on 10 December, with works produced by Devis Grebu, who has worked as an illustrator for leading international newspapers.
The United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC) in Brussels will launch a dynamic and interactive website called www.KnowYourRights2008 on 10 December, which will engage European citizens of all ages and invite them to join the campaign.
The United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna is introducing a "Human Rights Corner" on the UNIS website, with up-to-date information on Human Rights in English, as well as in German, Hungarian, Slovak and Slovene (the languages of UNIS' client countries).
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. The date has since served to mark Human Rights Day worldwide.
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For information on the above activities, visit:
KnowYourRights2008 website: www.KnowYourRights2008.org
UNIC Prague: www.osn.cz
UNIC Bucharest: www.onuinfo.ro
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: www.ohchr.org
United Nations Association of Austria: www.afa.at
United Nations Association of Hungary: www.menszt.hu
United Nations Association of Slovenia: www.unaslovenia.org