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December 2008: UNESCO commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
10 December 2008 – World Human Rights Day – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be 60 years old. On this symbolic date, UNESCO and all of its networks are organizing numerous events around the world to promote the rights contained in this Declaration and to offer the general public an opportunity to better understand the essential contribution made by UNESCO to enhance and develop the four rights which fall within its fields of competence.
December 2008: UNESCO commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights One of the main highlights of the commemoration by UNESCO of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the award of the 1st UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the promotion of a culture of human rights, the ceremony of which will be held on 10 December 2008 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, from 2p.m. to 6.30 p.m. During this ceremony, which will mark both World Human Rights Day and the 60 years of the Declaration, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro MATSUURA, will present the award to Stéphane HESSEL (France), who participated in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and continues tirelessly to defend human rights. He will also present the Honorable Mention of the UNESCO/Bilbao 2008 prize to the International Movement ATD Quart Monde, represented by its Director Eugen BRAND. Several dignitaries will be attending this event, including Janus SYMONIDES, President of the International Jury of the UNESCO/Bilbao prize, Iñaki AZKUNA, Mayor of Bilbao (Spain), and Rama YADE, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights of the French Republic. For the first time, three messages from the main UN agencies on the occasion of World Human Rights Day will be diffused together across the world. At UNESCO Headquarters, messages from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, BAN KI-MOON, from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem PILLAY, as well as the Director-General of UNESCO will also be diffused one after the other.
Opened with the screening of a documentary entitled “You and Human Rights” which was produced in 1950 by the American channel CBS, the ceremony will end with the screening of another film, directed by Christine Seghezz, entitled “Stephane Hessel, a history of commitment”, preceded by a piano recital by Joaquin ACHUCARRO, honorary citizen of the city of Bilbao and UNESCO Artist for Peace, nominated in 2000.

From the first morning, up until the evening of the next day, representatives of Ministries of Education of all UNESCO Member States, and many researchers and academics from around the world will be gathered, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, to participate in a Round Table entitled “Putting Human Rights into Practice: Role of Education”.

If 10 December is a special day, from the earliest days of December and throughout the month, the whole of UNESCO and its networks will be mobilized to mark the highlight of the commemoration which will begin on 10 December 2007 and will end in February 2009 by the creation of an International Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights, which will be a UNESCO centre, Category 2, in Buenos Aires (Argentina).

In addition to the events organized by the different programme sectors of UNESCO and in the field, within the framework of the Plan of Action of the Organization for this commemoration, numerous events have been organized by National Commissions for UNESCO, and Permanent Delegations of UNESCO Member States, and give the opportunity to promote and reflect on the four main rights in the areas of competence of UNESCO: the right to education (Article 26); the right to take part in cultural life (Article 27), the right to freedom of expression (Article 19) and the right to participate in scientific progress and enjoy its benefits (Article 27).

Thus, from 1-2 December, the Third International Conference, will take place in Cairo (Egypt), organized by the National Council for Human Rights of Egypt, and UNESCO’s Office in Cairo. The theme of the conference is “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60 year later: between rhetoric and reality”. This meeting should be the opportunity to discuss the role of national institutions for human rights and NGOs in Africa and the Arab States, and the establishment of a “Permanent Forum” on human beings and democracy which would facilitate dialogue between NGOs, national institutions for human rights and parliaments of these regions.

Organized by the Non-Aligned Movement, a Round Table on the theme “Human rights and cultural diversity”, will take place on Wednesday 3 December 2008, from 9 a.m. onwards at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris.
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On 8 December at 7 p.m., a documentary by Aubin HELLOT, entitled “René Cassin, a life working for Mankind”, will be screened at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, retracing not only the history of Rene Cassin, who was one of the main drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but also to contextualize the genesis of this Declaration and thus better understand the role played by UNESCO in the promotion of human rights in the past and in the future. Jean FAVIER, President of the French Commission for UNESCO, Isabelle GOUGENHEIM, Director of the Agency for Communication and Audiovisuals for Defense (ECPAD), Francois ZIMERAY, French Ambassador for Human Rights, and actor Michael Lonsdale will all be present next to the producer of this document to pay tribute to René Cassin, tireless defender of human rights, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration.

On 9 December at 6.30 p.m., a photographic exhibition by Jacqueline ROCHE, presenting portraits of 30 major French sportsmen, illustrating each of the articles of the Universal Declaration, will be inaugurated at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, and a book grouping together these portraits entitled “Humains doués de conscience” (Editions L’inévitable) will be presented. Pierre SANE, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Social and Human Sciences, Francois ZIMERAY, France’s Ambassador for Human Rights, and Stéphane HESSEL, laureate of the UNESCO/Bilbao 2008 Prize and great witness of this commemoration, will be associated with this event. It is planned that Nelson Montfort, sports journalist from France Television (France) will moderate this event, in the presence of several high-level sportsmen. Thus, Monique AMGHAR, Aladji BA, Bernard BEGUIN, Brigitte DEYDIER, Laurence FISCHER, Maud FONTENOY, Christine JANIN, Thu KAMKASOMPHOU, Taïg KHRIS and Iya TRAORE, will speak, in turn, on the importance of the values of human dignity and human rights in the sporting and personal careers.

The UNESCO Clubs will meet on Saturday, 13 December from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris for the 2nd Congress of the European Federation of Associations and UNESCO Clubs on the theme “Justice and Dignity for All”, a slogan chosen by the United Nations system for all events commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This congress will be followed by a meeting of youths on the theme of European citizenship as part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary, which will be opened by Koïchiro MATSUURA, UNESCO’s Director-General.

On 15 and 16 December, UNESCO Clubs in Africa will meet for a regional seminar in Bamako (Mali) to extend the reflection on human rights relating to the areas of competence of UNESCO, on the implementation of the Organization’s programme “Education for All by 2015” as well as its work against HIV/AIDS or the fight against racism and all forms of discrimination.

Also under the banner of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the First Conference on Human Rights in the Middle East will take place in Doha (Qatar) on 14 and 15 December on the theme of violence against children and prisoners as well as within the family.

See also:
UNESCO commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 1948 - 2008

Other events in December 2008 under the banner of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
  • 2 December: Symposium: “Spring 1968: Prague-Warsaw, Different Perspectives: Czechoslovakia-Poland”, organized by the Permanent Delegations of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia for UNESCO, Paris, France.
  • 2 December: Launching of the exhibition ”Condamnés et rescapés”, dedicated to the 65th anniversary of the rescue of Bulgarian Jews from deportation, Paris, France.
  • 2-10 December: Exhibition of teaching materials on the theme: “Learning about human rights education”, Paris, France.
  • 2 December-27 February: Exhibition “UNESCO speaks out for human rights: a street poster exhibition”, Paris, France.
  • 5-13 December: 9th International Film Festival against exclusion and for tolerance (FIFET), Paris, France.
  • 8 December: "Every Human Has Rights Media Awards" UNESCO Day for the Prize for Journalism, Paris, France.
  • 9 December: World Press Freedom Committee 20th Annual Anderson-Ottaway Lecture on Global Communications Issues, New York, USA.
  • 10 December: Youth Voices on Ethics and Human Rights, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • 11 December: Conference “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights : New Ethical and Social Challenges”, Bratislava, Slovak Republic.
  • 12-14 December: Symposium “Françoise Dolto: Latest Thinking, 1908-2008”, Paris, France.
  • 15-17 December: Producing a fresco in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, Rabat, Morocco.
  • 18 December: Poetry recital: “Francophone Poetry and Human Rights”, Paris, France.
  • 18-19 December: UNESCO/ISESCO Meeting of the Arab research/policy network. Rabat, Morocco.
  • 21 December: Meeting on international conventions on the rights of children and their importance in Qatari legislation. Doha, Qatar.
For more information: www.unesco.org/shs/humanrights/udhr_60anniversary

Other events linked to the social and human sciences programme of UNESCO for the month of December 2008:
  • 3-5 December: Sub-regional workshop for experts in ethics teaching, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
  • 8-12 December: Exposition of sculptures “Kano – Son chemin”. Paris, France.
  • 12 December: Ceremony of Designation of author and illustrator Lauren Child as UNESCO Artist for Peace. Paris, France.
  • 12-13 December: 2e Round Table on Bioethics UNESCO/University of Kumamoto. Kumamoto, Japan.
  • 15-16 December: International conference on human security in the Arab region. Cairo, Egypt.
  • 18 December: Radio Marathon on the occasion of the International Migrants’ Day in France. All around France.
  • 18-19 December: Executive Committee Meeting of the “Greater Horn Horizon” Forum. Djibouti, Djibouti.
For more detailed information: www.unesco.org/shs/agenda.

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Author(s) UNESCO - Sector for Social and Human Sciences
Publication Date 01-12-2008
Source SHS e-News 33 / December 2008

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