Fighting for Human Rights Must Be ‘At the Heart of Our Work’, Secretary-General Stresses, Marking Thirtieth Anniversary of Vienna World Conference

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights “30 Years On: Our Rights —Our Future”, in Vienna today: 

I send my warm greetings to this important event marking the thirtieth anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights.

Today’s human rights norms and standards were created over decades of dedicated work by the human rights community, building on the foundations of the Universal Declaration of 1948.  The Vienna World Conference was a pivotal moment on that journey.

The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action crystalized the principle that human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, elevating the role of economic, social and cultural rights.

The Conference also took historic steps to promote and protect the rights of women, children, and Indigenous Peoples.  And it strengthened the global human rights infrastructure by establishing the role and office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

But as we mark that successful moment, human rights are under threat around the world.  Poverty and hunger are rising.  Inequalities and divisions are increasing.  Minorities of all kinds are targeted for harassment and abuse.  Civic space is shrinking and the media is under attack. Hatred and disinformation spread like wildfire on digital platforms, while new technologies present new risks for human rights.

My Call to Action for Human Rights spells out the central role of human rights in addressing our most pressing contemporary challenges.  The Call to Action aims to mobilize the full weight of the United Nations to ensure that all people, everywhere, enjoy their human rights.

As we remember those who worked for the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, we pledge to continue the fight to put human rights at the heart of our work, and our world:  to guarantee freedom, justice and equality for all.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.