For information only - not an official document
9 December 2013
Message from Yury Fedotov, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna and Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, on Human Rights Day
VIENNA, 10 December (UN Information Service) - Here in Vienna 20 years ago, global action on human rights took a significant step forward with the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights and the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
The Conference reinforced the principles of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the duty of States to uphold them. It also created the position of High Commissioner for Human Rights, providing an important voice for the rights of people everywhere.
Two decades later, the message and meaning of the Vienna Conference are worth recalling as we approach Human Rights Day on 10 December.
The Vienna Declaration and Plan of Action were adopted by consensus following extensive discussions involving some 7,000 participants, including 171 States and more than 800 non-governmental organizations.
This shows what can be achieved through dialogue, and how much more we could achieve to promote the dignity and equal rights of people everywhere, if we work together.
The outcome of the Vienna Conference twenty years ago has given us the tools to pursue human rights in a more active and assertive way. The principles enshrined in the Declaration and Plan of Action help connect our efforts here at the United Nations at Vienna to focus on people, advocate the well-being of the individual by underpinning all our work here, whether to promote the peaceful uses of outer space; protect the health and welfare of people in the fight against illicit drug trafficking; combat discrimination and help all people living with HIV, including people who use drugs, as well as prisoners, get the care they need; stop human trafficking and violence against women; or work with States to uphold the rule of law and fight corruption.
Much has been achieved since the landmark 1993 Conference. On Human Rights Day this year, let us pay tribute to these achievements, and redouble our commitment to upholding and advancing human rights as we seek to make the world a safer, more just place for people everywhere.
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