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Student conference on Human Rights
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Friday, December 3, 2004

United Nations Headquarters, New York

Intermediate and Secondary Students (grades 5- 12)

HIV/AIDS and Human Rights: from Awareness to Action

About the Conference
Program for December 2-3, 2004

Student Conference on Human Rights at the United Nations

In December 1998, the United Nations Department of Public Information invited 400 students from around the world to a conference at UN Headquarters in New York to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The conference goal was to produce the Youth Declaration of Human Rights.

This program at the UN was so successful that students lobbied to make the conference an annual event that would be scheduled each year to coincide closely with Human Rights Day on December 10th. The UN Department of Public Information agreed to host the conference. The Carol Baur Foundation, Global Education Motivators, InterConnections 21, LePage Educational Consultants, United Nations International School (UNIS), UNA-Dominican Republic, and UNA-USA are all co-sponsors of this event. A total of 6 such annual conferences have taken place since 1998.

The goal of this annual event is to promote awareness and learning and prompt action among student leaders about human rights in general and to encourage them to focus on specific rights and related themes from year to year. The conference is also an opportunity for student leaders to network and develop important leadership skills such as public speaking, team and consensus building, negotiating, and research and drafting. Finally, the conference provides participants with first-hand experience in using many recent information technologies such as video conferencing and web casting.

Subsequent to the September 11, 2001 tragedy, the format of the conference changed. Instead of convening 400-500 participants in New York, now some 40-50 students representing the cosponsoring agencies gather at the UN over a two-day period to take the lead in drafting a document concerning a different human rights theme each year. Students from around the world contribute to these efforts on the second day through videoconference hook-ups to and a web cast of the proceedings in New York.

This year’s conference will take place on December 2-3, 2004. The theme will be “HIV/AIDS: From Awareness to Action”. Students will draft a Plan of Action that they will present to the President of the UN General Assembly (GA) at the end of the Conference. In past years, the President of the General Assembly has, in turn, presented the document prepared by the Student Conference to the General Assembly.

Program for December 2-3, 2004

"The full realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all is an essential element in a global response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, including in the areas of prevention, care, support and treatment, … [This realization] reduces vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and prevents stigma and related discrimination against people living with or at risk of HIV/AIDS."

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