World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, 1993

The World Conference on Human Rights took place in Vienna, Austria from 14-25 June 1993. A pivotal moment, the conference's main outcome was the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, a common plan for the strengthening of human rights work around the world.

The conference also made concrete recommendations for strengthening and harmonising the monitoring capacity of the United Nations system. It called for the establishment of the post of the High Commissioner for Human Rights by the General Assembly, which subsequently created it on 20 December 1993.

Additionally, the Conference took new steps to promote and protect the rights of women, children and indigenous peoples by, respectively:

The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action marked the culmination of a long process of review and debate over the status of human rights machinery in the world. This process had begun in 1961 with a General Assembly resolution designating 1968 as the International Year for Human Rights. The International Conference on Human Rights was held in Teheran, Iran, that same year (see timeline, From Teheran to Vienna).

Vienna also marked the beginning of a renewed effort to strengthen and further implement the body of human rights instruments that had been painstakingly constructed on the foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights since 1948.

In his closing statement, Mr. Ibrahima Fall, the Secretary-General of the Conference, said that the Declaration provided the international community with a new "framework of planning, dialogue and cooperation" that will enable a holistic approach to promoting human rights and involve actors at all levels -- international, national and local.

Historic photos of the World Conference on Human Rights are available to view and download from the UN photo library.