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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid