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23 May 2018 by Ludwig Boltzmann

Vienna+25 Conference: Building Trust – Making Human Rights a Reality for All

In June 1993, the World Conference on Human Rights took place in Vienna with the participation of more than 10,000 representatives from 171 countries. The Conference was a big success for the development of human rights and after two weeks of discussions, it was crowned by the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA), which empowered the protection and promotion of human rights universally.

25 years later, on 22 and 23 May 2018, human rights defenders and independent human rights experts from civil society and academia, national, regional and sub-regional human rights institutions as well as representatives from the local level gathered in Vienna to honor the 25th anniversary of the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights. The Vienna+25 conference was organized by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the City of Vienna, and co-funded by the Austrian Development Agency.

The conference took place at the Vienna City Hall and was opened by Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs Karin Kneissl, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and the Mayor of Vienna Michael Häupl as the conference host. Thereafter, specialized Working Group sessions for discussions at expert level paved the way for adopting a set of recommendations on the second day of the conference.

The main purpose of the Vienna+25 conference was to collect the experts’ perspectives on current human rights issues such as security and equality, education and youth, effectiveness of human rights mechanisms, the UN and Sustainable Development Goals, the role of cities in promoting and protecting human rights, as well as global trends such as urbanization, digitalization, climate change and demographic change. Discussions at expert level were conducted in two Working Groups composed of approximately 45 experts focusing on two main topics: “Human Rights and Security” chaired by Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, and “Promotion of Equality in our Societies” chaired by Manfred Nowak, Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights.

The outcomes of the Vienna+25 conference are remarkable as participating experts in both Working Groups generated recommendations for states, cities and local governments, the UN, regional organisations, private corporate actors, civil society organisations, as well as the media, aiming at further improving the protection of human rights in the future. The conference provided a great environment for new approaches to be taken into consideration and contributed to a future-oriented discourse on the relevance of human rights.

The conference brochure containing all relevant conference documents, graphic recordings and photographs can be accessed in the download section.

All photographs ©BMEIA/GeorgesSchneider