4 December 1997

Press Release


Will Also Begin Observance of Fiftieth Anniversary of Universal Declaration on Human Rights

Human Rights Day will be observed this year at United Nations Headquarters from 8 to 10 December, with three events organized by the Department of Public Information (DPI). They will include an international journalists' round table, a special event to launch the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (adopted on 10 December 1948), and a Human Rights Day exhibit. Round Table The two-day international journalists' round table on human rights, open to media representatives only, will consist of four panel discussions. On Monday, 8 December, participants will consider the role of the media in human rights during the morning session and "human rights in action" in the afternoon. On Tuesday, 9 December, the morning session will consider the right to development, and the afternoon will consider children's and women's rights. The meetings will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Conference Room 6. Speakers on the role will include Philip Alston, Chairman of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Judith Moses, member of the Board of Directors, Committee to Protect Journalists; and David Lazarus, Officer-in-Charge, United Nations Information Service, Bangkok. The moderator for this panel is Ian Williams, Vice-President of the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA). Speakers on "human rights in action" will be Ilene Cohn, Visiting Human Rights Fellow at Harvard University and former United Nations Human Rights Monitor in El Salvador and Guatemala; and Colin Granderson, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Rights Mission in Haiti. They will present their views on the issue of field offices and human rights monitoring. In addition, United Nations Legal Counsel Hans Corell will address the role of ad hoc criminal tribunals and the proposed international criminal court in dealing with crimes against humanity. The moderator for this panel is Afsane Bassir Pour, correspondent for Le Monde at the United Nations. Speakers for the panel on the right to development will be James Paul, Professor Emeritus of Rutgers University; Inge Kaul, Director of the Office of Development Studies of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and Ahmad Kamal, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations. The

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moderator is Ted Morello, United Nations correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review.

The speakers on children's and women's rights will be Marjorie Newman- Williams, Deputy Director of the Programme Division of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); Charlotte Bunch, Executive Director, Center for Women's Global Leadership; and Purificación Quisumbing, Director, New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The moderator is Judy Lessing, correspondent for Radio New Zealand.

Each panel will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Special Event

The special event on Human Rights Day to mark the anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 10 December in the Economic and Social Council Chamber. Speakers will address the following themes: "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Individual Rights versus Collective Rights"; and "Human Rights Education -- A Step towards Strengthening Respect for Human Rights". Opening remarks will be made by General Assembly President Hennadiy Udovenko (Ukraine).

The keynote addresses will be given by Hillary Rodham Clinton, First Lady of the United States; and Nafis Sadik, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Ms. Quisumbing will deliver a message by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. A video message by Secretary- General Kofi Annan will also be shown.

Speakers at the event will include Wole Soyinka, Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature; Kamalesh Sharma, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations; and Olara Otunnu, Special Representative of the Secretary- General on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children. Samir Sanbar, Assistant Secretary-General for Public Information, will serve as moderator.

The panel will be followed by a question-and-answer period.


The Human Rights Day exhibit will be opened at 1 p.m. on 10 December in the north-east corner of the Public Lobby. Mr. Sanbar will preside over the opening, to include a musical programme featuring Rachel Lee, Korean-American violinist and child prodigy.

For additional information, call Danielle Loff at 212/963-0352. For media accreditation, 212/963-6934 (phone) or 212/963-4642 (fax). For United Nations television coverage, call Jim Ludlam, at 212/963-7650.

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