International organisations commit to building broader
support for human rights
6 March 2018 - With the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 70
years ago, governments around the globe committed to making peace, democracy and
justice a reality for all. We, national, regional and international institutions
have worked towards that objective, striving to improve the life of hundreds of
millions of people around the world. However, that work remains incomplete as poverty,
armed conflicts, oppression, inequality and discrimination are still a reality
for so many people.
laws and policies are certainly necessary, but to keep the promise of a life
with equal opportunities for all, we must ensure that people understand and support
human rights. Regrettably, the past few years have seen the emergence of a discourse
that is deeply hostile to human rights. Many people perceive the issues as
irrelevant for them, or feel excluded from the discussions.
widespread feeling has many causes. One is certainly the failure of governments,
parliaments, international organisations, national human rights structures,
schools and the media to reach all by showing how human rights matter for everyone.
this reason, we, as leaders of human rights institutions, meeting today in
Geneva, commit to improve our public communication to successfully promote and
protect human rights.
acknowledge the disaffection of certain parts of society with the prevailing human
rights discourse; we understand that engaging differently with those who feel
left behind is an important function of every human rights organisation;
the challenges inherent to communicating about rights and commit to take a critical
look at our own work and how we can effectively communicate about the
importance of human rights, redoubling our efforts to listen and reach out to
the critics and the indifferent;
commit to gear our communication not only to policy makers, but also towards
broader sections of society - like the youth,
businesses and the marginalised, using suitable means of communication, and to nurture
a culture of human rights that can help societies become more cohesive and
call on all human rights defenders and supporters, national, regional and
international human rights structures, civil society representatives, governments
and policy makers, media, academia and business groups to work together to
contribute to better representation, communication and understanding of human
rights values across the globe; and
pledge to work harder and improve the way we reach out to people, in order to
build a broader and stronger support for human rights and make the promise made
70 years ago a reality for all.
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