World Conference on Human Rights
14-25 June 1993, Vienna
Twenty five years after the International Conference on Human Rights in 1968, the United Nations convened the historic World Conference on Human Rights from 14-25 June 1993 in Vienna. The outcome document of the Conference, the , was a common plan for the strengthening of human rights work around the world. The 1993 Conference marked the culmination of a long process of review and debate over the status of human rights machinery in the world which had begun in 1963 with a General Assembly designating 1968 as the .
To strengthen the UN's work in protecting human rights, the World Conference on Human Rights called for the establishment of a High Commissioner for Human Rights (a post subsequently by the UN General Assembly later that year). The Office of the High Commissioner, also known as United Nations Human Rights, is part of the UN Secretariat and is the principal United Nations office mandated to promote and protect human rights for all. It works with and assists Governments in fulfilling their human rights obligations, speaks out objectively in the face of human rights violations worldwide, provides a forum for identifying, highlighting and developing responses to today's human rights challenges, and acts as the principal focal point of human rights research, education, public information, and advocacy activities, and works with a wide range of partners to widen the constituency for human rights worldwide.
The World Conference on Human Rights also took new steps to promote and protect the rights of women, children and indigenous peoples by supporting the creation of a new mechanism, a Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, by recommending the proclamation by the General Assembly of an International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (which led to the proclamation of two decades in 1995-2004 and 2005-2014), and by calling for the universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by 1995.
The World Conference on Human Rights, in its Declaration and Programme of Action, also reaffirmed that States are duty-bound, as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in other international human rights instruments, to ensure that education is aimed at strengthening the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The World Conference on Human Rights marked the beginning of a renewed effort to strengthen and further implement the body of human rights instruments that had been painstakingly constructed on the foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights since 1948.
In 1998, a five-year review of the implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action was conducted by the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the Commission on Human Rights.
The 25th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action was commemorated by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 2018.