You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) using Archive-It. This page was captured on 10:31:44 Nov 01, 2016, and is part of the UNESCO collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.
Loading media information hide
  UNESCO.ORG The Organization Education Natural Sciences Social & Human Sciences Culture Communication & Information

UNESCO and Human Rights - Background Information
UNESCO has an impressive record of human rights activities. UNESCO was actively involved in the elaboration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
On 10th December 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

By approving this corner-stone instrument, the UN clearly reaffirmed its faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women.

The Declaration proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They all have the right to life, liberty and security. They should have an adequate standard of living and should enjoy their rights to education, to work, to health, to own property and many others.

UNESCO is active in the efforts to make human rights a reality for all people.

UNESCO has contributed significantly to eliminating illiteracy and ensuring education for all. UNESCO works to protect the free flow of information and freedom of expression, as well as to preserve cultural heritage worldwide. It has developed programmes to promote tolerance and dialogue among civilizations, and cultural diversity. In 2005 UNESCO confirmed its commitment to human rights when it adopted the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

UNESCO works to find solutions to new challenges faced by humanity, including those linked with scientific progress. It has created an International Bioethics Committee. One of the recent successes in this field is the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2005.

For humanity, fifty-eight years after its adoption, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains a common standard that should be achieved by all and for all.

"It is a mirror that reflects how far we have come and how long we have yet to go. It is a mirror that at once flatters us and shames us, that bears witness to the record of progress for parts of humanity, while revealing a history of horrors for others. Above all, it teaches the United Nations that without human rights, no peace and prosperity will last".
[Kofi Annan, U.N. Secretary-General]

The World Summit of 2005 reaffirmed the importance of human rights for the United Nations and the international community. It also reiterated that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. All States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, have the duty to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The importance of human rights was underlined by the Heads of State and Government at the 33rd session of the UNESCO General Conference in October 2005. As the President of Germany, Horst Köhler said:

"Human dignity is the core concept underlying the United Nations Charter and UNESCO’s Constitution, as well as countless universal and regional human rights covenants and national Constitutions. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. This statement in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 is no philanthropic aspiration; it has the force of law. All political action must be judged by whether it actually helps people to lead their lives in dignity".

UNESCO, with its Strategy on Human Rights, continues to play an important role in the application of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In closing the 33rd session of the General Conference, Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, said:

"It is through the dialogue among cultures, civilizations and religions and through numerous activities that we encourage liberty, dignity and human rights. I am deeply convinced that in order to ensure peace in the world, we should appeal to the conscience of every individual because it is true that every human being encompasses all of humanity".

Watch the video on UNESCO and Human Rights

Website mms://stream.unesco.org/vod/shs_60th.wmv

  Email this page     Printable version

  Email this page
 Printable version
Who's who?