HRC / 24th Session, Follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
UN Human Rights Council – 24th Session
General Debate under Agenda Item 8 –
Follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
Austria is fully aligned with the European Union statement.
This June, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights, which took place in Vienna in 1993, and the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The VDPA re-affirmed the universality and indivisibility of all human rights and stated that human rights are a legitimate concern of the international community. It emphasised the inter-relatedness of all human rights and the inter-dependent nature of human rights, the rule of law and democracy. In addition, it affirmed women’s rights as universal rights and opened the door for major work to integrate a gender perspective into all human rights policies.The VDPA changed the global response to human rights violations.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights, Austria organised, together with the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights of the United Nations and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights as well as the European Training Centre for Democracy and Human Rights of the University of Graz, an international experts conference “Vienna+20: Advancing the Protection of Human Rights” on 27 and 28 June 2013 in Vienna.
This conference gave a voice to human rights defenders and civil society representatives and demonstrated their central role as key stakeholders and partners for the promotion and protection of human rights. Their demands are substantially reflected in the recommendations as formulated in the conference report. Austria has submitted the conference report of the Vienna meeting to the Human Rights Council. We are also looking forward to the discussions at the “Vienna+20” high-level side-event organised by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the General Assembly on 25 September 2013.
The VDPA’s 20th anniversary gives us the opportunity to look at the institutional developments in the field of human rights protection, at the very positive development of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the continued expansion of the UN treaty body system, the remarkable growth of the special procedures and the almost universal advance of national human rights institutions in accordance with the Paris principles.
In celebrating the VDPA’s achievements, however, we cannot ignore the fact that human rights violations continue around the world and that the victims of violations need our continued support in order to achieve justice and redress. The tremendous progress of the past is no justification for relenting in our efforts in light of the continuing misery. The persistent implementation gap that divides the rhetoric from the realities of human rights protection needs to be addressed.
In conclusion, we re-iterate our commitment to uphold the achievements of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, to continue to work for its full implementation and to use its enduring relevance for addressing today’s human rights challenges.