Michael Douglas, Wynton Marsalis, Luciano Pavarotti and Vanessa Redgrave are among the luminaries who will help Secretary-General Kofi Annan and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- the most comprehensive and widely recognized international standard for the protection of civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights.
Events commemorating the adoption of the Declaration in Paris on 10 December 1948, as well as the announcement of six recipients of the United Nations Human Rights Prize, will take place throughout the day on Thursday, 10 December, at United Nations Headquarters in New York:
-- The Human Rights Prizes will be awarded by Secretary-General Kofi Annan shortly after the 10 a.m. opening of a special all-day session of the General Assembly. (Among previous awardees are Nelson Mandela, Eleanor Roosevelt, U Thant, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..) The 1998 awardees will meet the media at an 11:15 a.m. press conference in Room S-226 of the Secretariat Building.
-- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Carol Bellamy and UNICEF Special Representative for the Performing Arts Vanessa Redgrave will open an exhibit on "Child rights: a new era for children" at 11:45 a.m. in the main gallery of the Public Lobby of the General Assembly Building.
-- The world premiere screening of the United Nations documentary on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "For everyone, everywhere" -- with rare archival material, interviews with surviving participants in the preparation of the Declaration, contemporary footage shot on four continents and narration by Harrison Ford -- will take place at 12:15 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium. A panel discussion will be held afterward, followed by a screening of the French version of the documentary, "Tous les Ítres humains ...", narrated by Isabelle Huppert, at 1:30 p.m. in the Library Auditorium.
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-- The Department for Public Information Exhibit on Human Rights will be opened by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, with General Assembly President Didier Opertti (Uruguay), United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and the 1998 Human Rights Prize awardees, in the Public Lobby of the General Assembly Building shortly after 1 p.m., immediately following the conclusion of the General Assembly morning session.
-- A presentation on the theme "For the worldwide right to asylum", hosted by Vanessa Redgrave, will begin at 2 p.m. in Conference Room 1. Among the speakers are Mary Robinson, Tim Robbins, Edward Said and Amnesty International Executive Director William Schultz.
-- Newly designed "children's passports", with the text of the Universal Declaration printed inside, will be presented to an assemblage of children at 5:30 p.m. in the General Assembly Public Lobby by Secretary-General Kofi Annan and three United Nations Messengers of Peace: Italian journalist Anna Cataldi, Michael Douglas, and Luciano Pavarotti. The "passports" have spaces for children to write in their individual information as well as the places they visit. To be distributed internationally, the passports will promote awareness of the Universal Declaration, as well as the principle that children should be full beneficiaries of the rights enshrined in that document.
-- Luciano Pavarotti and Wynton Marsalis perform a musical recital beginning at 8 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall.
In honour of the commemoration, copies of the Universal Declaration will be inserted in all Playbills distributed in New York theatres on the evening of 10 December.
All commemorative events at United Nations Headquarters are open to media professionals with United Nations accreditation. Journalists without United Nations accreditation who wish to attend should fax a letter of assignment to (212) 963-4642, and call the United Nations Media Accreditation Unit at (212) 963-7164.
Media inquiries should be directed to the Department of Public Information, tel. (212) 963-6923; for television coverage call (212) 963-7650.
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