GENEVA (5 December 2023) – The UN Human Rights Office is organising a High-level Event on 11 and 12 December to mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The event is the culmination of Human Rights 75 – a year-long initiative by the Office to reaffirm the values of the Universal Declaration and recommit to human rights as the pathway to address the challenges of today and the future.
“We are meeting at a sombre moment. Across the globe there are levels of violent conflict not seen since 1945. We are seeing deepening inequalities, increasing discrimination and hate speech, impunity, and growing divisions and polarization. And adding to all this, the triple planetary crisis of the climate emergency, pollution and loss of biodiversity,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk.
“This underscores all the more the need for us to take stock, learn lessons, and craft a vision for the future together based on human rights. The Universal Declaration provides a promise – that we are all born equal in dignity and rights – and a blueprint for action. This event is a moment of deep reflection to seek common solutions together, centred on human rights,” he stressed.
Heads of State and Government, and other high-level State dignitaries will gather with human rights defenders, young people, civil society organisations, business, sportspeople, artists, economists, representatives from UN entities and regional organizations at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Please consult the programme* which will be updated in the run-up to the event.
Among the key moments on 11 December, there will be two Pledging Sessions where States will announce tangible commitments to advance human rights protection. In two segments entitled Voices in defence of human rights, participants will share their testimonies and perspectives on the impact of the Universal Declaration. Panel discussions will be held with experts looking into challenges and the way forward on the universality and indivisibility of human rights and how to strengthen the human rights system.
The Opening Ceremony on 12 December will involve a discussion with Heads of State, moderated by the High Commissioner. This will be followed by four round tables on pressing human rights issues and the future of human rights: peace and security; digital technologies; climate and the environment; and development and the economy. The roundtables, with high-level representatives from States and other actors, have been guided by discussion papers* on the need to generate fresh ideas on such fundamental issues.
The Geneva High-level Event, which will be accessible with international sign language interpretation and real-time captioning, as well as simultaneous interpretation in the six UN official languages, will be connected online to regional hubs in Bangkok, Nairobi and Panama where related discussions and events are also being organised.
The entire event will also be accessible through a virtual human rights centre that will enable up to 3,000 people to take part online.
To ensure further the global scope of the discussions, national and regional dialogues were held in the run-up to December - the latter in Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Cairo, Brussels and Santiago. In addition, a High-level event in Vienna in June marked the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and of the UN Human Rights Office.
HR75 initiative high-level event
*For more information on the HR75 initiative programme, discussion papers and access to the debates online, please visit the HR75 initiative high-level event.
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