UpdatesOffice of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Human Rights 75: drumroll of activity gathers pace
Thirty years on from landmark Vienna conference, Parliaments commit to improving women’s rights, ‘Bushfire’ music festival in Eswatini, Urban artists at work in Panama, Make your pledge, National dialogue held in CAR
04 July 2023
A major milestone event towards the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was held earlier this month in Vienna. Find out why it was important, and discover more updates on how the Human Rights 75 initiative is shaping up, below. Keep an eye on the Initiative webpage for more on how you can get involved.
Vienna World Conference 30 Years On: Our Rights – Our Future
Thirty years on from the first-ever world conference on human rights, a high-level symposium held on 6 June took stock of achievements so far and looked at best practices for a better future. Ways in which human rights could represent a solution to issues surrounding technology and youths were explored during the event, which was organised by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs in cooperation with UN Human Rights.
“While there have been massive gains in human rights since the Vienna Declaration, today, all around the world, we are seeing dramatic rollbacks”, said the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk. “The common language of human rights is our compass to guide us towards progress.” Read more.
Parliaments commit to improving women’s rights
Parliamentarians have committed to improving women’s rights in their local constituencies at a roundtable organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Human Rights.
The event, held in Geneva on 22 June, focused on the role of parliaments in advancing women’s rights to political participation, decent work and education on an equal basis with men. According to IPU, which is made up of 179 national parliaments, only 26.5 per cent of parliamentarians are women and only 36 countries have a woman Head of State or Government.
“The type of hatred and misogyny we see against women in public and political life is mindboggling, and it is extremely important that we are vigilant about it, identify why it is happening and that we try to counter it,” said UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk.
In response, pledges made by parliamentarians at the event include adopting zero tolerance codes of conduct and reporting mechanisms in parliaments on gender-based violence. They also committed to ensuring access to decent work and social protection for all women, and ensuring that the education system puts an end to gender stereotyping. These commitments will feed into the December 2023 Human Rights 75 Initiativehigh-level event.
People from across society ‘bring their fire’ to festival in Eswatini
In Eswatini, a ‘bushfire’ music festival in May provided a space for people of all backgrounds to ‘bring their fire’ and speak out at a dedicated space used to inspire a call to action for positive social and environmental change. Representatives from all walks of life meanwhile took part in panel discussions on topics ranging from the right to health, gender, a decent standard of living, climate change and non-discrimination. Performing musicians were furthermore fully in tune with the messaging at the event, which is one of the largest music festivals held in Africa. For instance, Bonisile BlackPoet highlighted issues of gender-based violence and discrimination in her performance, while Qibho sang about freedom of expression.
Human rights mural created in Panama school
The UN Human Rights Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean partnered with Canvas Urbano, a collective of urban artists in Panama City, to create a Human Rights 75 commemorative mural in one of the city’s most populous public elementary schools. The mural highlighted Article 26, the right to education, and was designed and painted by sixth-grade students, led by a popular Panamanian muralist known as ‘EVADE’. The experience took the students through multiple workshops, including muralism and human rights, and opened the door to develop a workshop specially designed for the school’s faculty at the end of 2023.
Popular Panamanian muralist EVADE led the students
Parliament hosts reflection in Bosnia and Herzegovina
On 20-21 June, around 100 human rights experts and practitioners – including lawyers, judges, academia and civil society organisations – gathered in the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina to assess challenges and solutions related to human rights in the country. Topics addressed included addressing inequalities and discrimination, promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights, promoting and protecting civic space, the promotion of truth and justice, as well as reparation and guarantees of non-recurrences of crimes. The event was led by UN Human Rights together with the Institution of Ombudsman for Human Rights of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Make your pledge for human rights
UN Member States will be announcing national pledges to boost human rights at a high-level event in Geneva on 11-12 December 2023. But how can you take a stand, as an individual? Fabien Daudier from UN Human Rights’ Brussels Office explains how you can make your pledge in in three easy steps in this video. Share your pledge on social media with the #HumanRights75 hashtag and make your voice heard!
National dialogue held in CAR
MINUSCA/UN Human Rights and the Government of the Central African Republic held a national dialogue on 22 and 23 June in Bangui to mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights under the High Patronage of the Prime Minister. The event was attended by over 200 participants, including more than 100 high school students. It provided an opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue on the challenges involved in bringing about human rights in the Central African Republic. The UN Secretary-General’s Call to Action on Human Rights was promoted, and a new draft National Human Rights Policy presented, which aims to ensure that the Central African Republic is a State where human rights are known and respected by all by 2033.