1998: The 50th anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of
UN General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) adopted and proclaimed the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights on 1948-DEC-10.1,2
Afterwards, the Assembly called upon all its member countries "to cause it to be
disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational
institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or
territories." The latter phrase is a reference to the colonial status of many
areas of the world at the time.
The 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration was celebrated on 1998-DEC-10. Amnesty
International had collected over 3 million signatures across the world in support of
the Declaration. The UN Secretary General formally received the pledge as a tangible
statement of the people of the world's commitment to an International agenda of human
UN Decade for Human Rights Education:
The World Conference on Human Rights (1993-JUN-14 to 25)3 in
Vienna, Austria produced a Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action4which recommended
"... that human rights education, training and public
information were essential for the promotion and achievement of stable and harmonious
relations among communities and for fostering mutual understanding, tolerance and peace.
The Conference recommended that States should strive to eradicate illiteracy and should
direct education towards the full development of the human personality and the
strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It called on all
States and institutions to include human rights, humanitarian law, democracy and rule of
law as subjects in the curricula of all learning institutions in formal and non-formal
Following this suggestion, on 1994-DEC-23, the UN General Assembly, proclaimed the 10
year interval from 1995-JAN-1 to 2004-DEC-31 as the "United Nations Decade for
Human Rights Education." 6 The UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights has developed a plan of action which involves:
Assessing needs and formulating strategies.
Building and strengthening human rights education programs at international, regional,
national and local level.
Developing in a coordinated way materials for human rights education.
Strengthening the role of the mass media.
Globally disseminating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"... focuses on stimulating and supporting national and local activities
and initiatives and is built upon the idea of a partnership between Governments,
international organizations, non-governmental organizations, professional associations,
individuals and large segments of civil society." 5
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