Vienna, 28.06.2013 - On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, Austria, in cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, organised an international expert conference entitled „Vienna+20: Advancing the Protection of Human Rights“ on 27 and 28 June 2013 in Vienna.
„The Vienna+20 human rights conference reinvigorated our commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights,“ Johannes Kyrle, Secretary General of the Austrian Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs emphasised in his remarks concluding the conference. The conference gathered high-level human rights stakeholders from around the world, including Tawakkol Karman, Yemeni human rights activist and Nobel peace laureate, Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, and Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations. The conference gave voice to human rights defenders and civil society organisations as crucial agents for global human rights protection, and develops of action-oriented recommendations on how to further strengthen the international human rights system. The conference concentrated on remedies for victims of human rights violations, strengthening the role of women in public and political life, as well as human rights in the post-2015 development agenda.
Experts agreed that while much has been achieved in the past 20 years, the full realisation of human rights for all is still a dream for too many. Concern was expressed about the increasing harrassment and intimidation, by a number of governments, of human rights defenders and civil society organisations resulting in limitation of their space and freedom of action. Experts also highlighted the internet and social media as strong factors for the promotion and protection of human rights, and called for an end to unnecessary restrictions as well as the protection of the privacy of the individual.
Johannes Kyrle thanked the High Commissioner of the work of her office and for her cooperation. „This conference has produced a number of highly pertinent recommendations for the full realisation of human rights,“ he explained. „It is now the responsibility of all human rights stakeholders, above all governments, to work with civil society for the follow-up of to the recommendations made. We will bring the recommendations to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly this autumn.“
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