Thursday, September 4, 2008

Reaffirming Human Rights for All

I am in Paris attending the conference on human rights Reaffirming Human Rights for All: the Universal Declaration at 60. The conference was introduced by the UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura and the keynote speaker was Simone Veil. UN Director General Ban Ki Moon addressed the conference by video link.

This conference is a lead-in conference to the UN special conference. The choice of Paris as the location of this conference is symbolic as it was here that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was agreed 60 years ago. Simone Veil reminded the assembly that the UDHR was negotiated as a reaction to the horrors of the preceding Nazi period and the annihilation of six million Jews and said that NGOs have a vocation to focus on the rights of those who are not recognised, which of course is the reason I am here. The one group of people whose rights are consistently denied are children who are yet unborn and sadly the figures have now reached countless millions.