News / Europe

UN Marks 20th Anniversary of Human Rights Declaration

UN Marks 20th Anniversary of Rights Declarationi
X
December 10, 2013 5:41 AM
Tuesday is International Human Rights Day. This year, the United Nations marks 20 years since the signing of the Vienna Declaration, committing states to the promotion and protection of human rights for all and creating the post of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. VOA U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer has more.

UN Marks 20th Anniversary of Rights Declaration

Margaret Besheer
— On this year’s International Human Rights Day, on December 10, the United Nations will mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Vienna Declaration, committing states to the promotion and protection of human rights for all and creating the post of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
 
Some things in life may be taken for granted, such as the ability to receive an education, but as the Taliban attack on teen activist Malala Yousafzai taught the world last year, school is a right that can't be taken for granted.
 
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 57 million children worldwide do not attend school. Many of them live in conflict zones, and most are girls.
 
“No child should have to die for going to school. Nowhere should teachers fear to teach or children fear to learn,” said Ban.
 
The right to an education, the rights of children, the elimination of violence against women, and the eradication of poverty were envisioned for all people by the Vienna Declaration.
 
U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović said the 1993 declaration was a game changer.
 
“It was an event that really moved human rights to the forefront of the global agenda,” said Šimonović.
 
However, despite advances, Human Rights Watch’s Philippe Bolopion pointed out that the fight still continues.
 
"On a day like today, it is hard not to think about civilians trapped in Syria or in the Central African Republic who probably feel that the international community is failing them. And they are right. Despite all the progress we have seen at the U.N. in terms of putting human rights to the front, there are still tragic failures and it is often civilians who are paying the price,” said Bolopion.
 
Šimonović maintained that human rights abuses are often the first sign of conflict.
 
“If we act timely, we might be able to prevent them. The Secretary-General is just right now rolling out a new action plan called Rights Up Front. It puts human rights in the center of prevention of emerging conflict,” explained Šimonović.
 
Governments are responsible for protecting human rights, yet in Syria and the Central African Republic, the authorities are among those accused of atrocities.
 
HRW’s Bolopion recently visited the CAR and said he met many people whose relatives were killed by former rebels who are now in power.
 
“Too often it is the governments themselves who are responsible for very serious abuses against their population, and when that happens they need to be stopped by the international community,” said Bolopion.
 
On International Human Rights Day, the U.N. is honoring five rights defenders, including a Moroccan journalist and Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid