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Former UN Assistant Secretary-General donates reference material to OHCHR

Dr. Tamar Oppenheimer, a former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, has donated a collection of human rights documents and other United Nations material dating back to 1957 to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The donation includes records on United Nations technical cooperation activities that were organized by the Division of Human Rights through its Advisory Services Programme to improve the promotion and protection of human rights.

The UN Human Rights library has a collection of human rights material drawn from various parts of the world. © OHCHR PhotoDr. Oppenheimer, a strong advocate for the implementation of human rights said: “From my years at the United Nations, I realize how important it is to build on and to expand successful experience rather than recreating ways and means to ensure better protection of human rights.”

Dr. Oppenheimer joined the United Nations in June 1946, when it was located in Hunter College in New York. She contributed to work on human rights, training and education, crime prevention, habitat, and drug control, while in positions in Vienna and New York. She retired in 1987 as Secretary-General of the International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. In 1991, she was awarded the Knight Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Austria, with Star. She was also appointed as Officer of the Order of Canada the same year for her service to the United Nations.

Dr. Oppenheimer retired from the Secretariat at the end of 1987 after more than 40 years of service and she continues to be an active human rights advocate. She has also endowed the creation of a Chair in the implementation of international treaties in Public International Law at Mc Gill University in Montreal, Canada. It is intended to equip future lawyers and civil servants with the skills to lead the implementation of treaty obligations.

Receiving the donation on behalf of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Marcia V.J. Kran, Director of the Research and Right to Development Division, expressed her appreciation for the addition to OHCHR’s library. Ms. Kran said: “Looking at these historical materials makes it clear that our work on human rights builds on the work of others. The documents illustrate the value of taking the time to investigate the antecedents of our work."

The OHCHR library has a collection of human rights material drawn from various parts of the world and also includes material published by the UN human rights office.

Dr. Oppenheimer’s donation of reference materials will form part of the library’s comprehensive growing collection of information on human rights and training tools for OHCHR staff and human rights practitioners. The library also holds the largest collection of materials on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from around the world.

18 August 2009

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