United Nations Human Rights Conference

Brian Bond at the United Nations Human Rights Conference

This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the first universal statement on the basic principles of the human rights to which peoples of all nations are entitled.

The theme “Reaffirming Human Rights: The Universal Declaration at 60” was chosen for the Annual Conference organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information in cooperation with the NGO community. This year’s conference was staged with the assistance of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Government of France.

Paris, the capital city of France, the place where the Declaration was signed some 60 years ago was fittingly chosen to be the host city for this premier NGO event of the year. The conference was held at UNESCO Headquarters and attracted registrations from more than 2,000 NGO representatives including four members of Edmund Rice International

Debates and discussions covered a wide range of issues: biodiversity, poverty questions, education, migration issues, and conflict resolution. While the quality of the presentations was uneven, there were enough stimulating events to prompt reflection and action. Above all, the opportunity to meet other like-minded groups and persons was in itself a worthwhile experience. The presence of so many faith-based organizations reinforced a sense of a common engagement in the project of realizing God’s dream of a better world for all.

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