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HUMAN RIGHTS DAY, 10 DECEMBER 2003

The significance of the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights

The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights is an award given to individuals and organisations in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is presented by the UN Secretary-General in the General Assembly every five years.

The Prize provides an opportunity for the United Nations to publicly commend the achievements and outstanding contribution of the awardees. Through this public recognition of the valuable work of the awardees, the United Nations also pays tribute to the thousands of anonymous human rights advocates and defenders involved daily in the difficult and often perilous work to promote and protect the rights of others.

Human Rights Day 10 December 2003

The 2003 United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights will be awarded at the meeting of the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York on 10 December 2003 at 10am. The awardees will be invited to attend the General Assembly meeting to be presented with a commemorative plaque by the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly, and attend a number of official functions.

The 2003 award of the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights has a particular significance in the UN calendar. In addition to marking the 55th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 2003 is also:

- 10th anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights, which adopted the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA)

- 10th anniversary of the establishment of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

- 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Principles on National Human Rights Institutions

In addition to the award ceremony in the General Assembly, OHCHR in conjunction with non-governmental organisations and Member States, will host a number of public events on 10 December. These 'parallel events' are designed to commemorate the various anniversaries, reflect on progress made, and promote discussion on the current challenges in the field of human rights.

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