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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurEuropeSéparateurFranceSéparateurThe UIHJ at the 61th UN DPI/NGO Annual Conference in Paris (3-5 Sept. 2008)
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The UIHJ at the 61th UN DPI/NGO Annual Conference in Paris (3-5 Sept. 2008)

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For the First Time of its History, and to Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is in Paris, at the Head Office of the United Nations Educational, Science and Culture Organization (Unesco), that Was Held From 3 to 5 September 2008 the 61th Annual Conference of Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) of the United Nations (UN) on the Topic: Reaffirming Human Rights For All: the Universal Declaration at 60.

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The UIHJ, NGO member of the Economic and Social Council of UNO, was represented by its first secretary, Mathieu Chardon. During the opening meeting, Koïchiro Mastuura, Director General of Unesco welcomed all and stressed the importance of the representatives of the civil society in the promotion of human rights. Mr. Matsuura said that NGO “constitute an essential framework of action and reflection on rights and freedoms and that it is thus natural that they are foreground partners to transpose in reality the objective of dignity and justice for all laid down by the United Nations for this commemoration”. Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations addressed a video message of welcome and pointed out the fundamental importance of the Universal declaration of human rights.
Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communication and Public Information of UN recalled that it is in Paris, 60 years ago, that the General meeting of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He greeted the more than 2000 representatives of NGO who registered with the conference, noticing that the geographical distribution of the participants was “much better than the previous years, in particular because of a better African and Asian representation”.
Rama Yade, State Secretary in charge of Foreign affairs and Human rights of France, noted with satisfaction that the Universal declaration of human rights still causes much enthusiasm, sixty years after its adoption. Mrs. Yade recalled that it is France, in 1789, which stated “this idea however simple according to which all men are born free and equal in right”.
During the ceremony, Simone Weil, former State minister of France, recalled that if the ideal of human rights was marked in reaction to the atrocious crimes committed during the Second world war, in particular against the Jews - and of which she was both a witness and a survivor -, the defense of these principles is “a combat of man against the death instincts and the hatred that inhabits him, a combat of reason against insanity, compassion against indifference”. In a world where economy and risks is global, continued Mrs. Weil, NGO very early took the measurement of the world character of contemporary problems. They play a driving role, by defending human rights everywhere where they are flouted.

The Clamor of the World

Then Shamina de Gonzaga, president of the 61th Conference, stressed that its objective is not to rewrite an already existing declaration or to write a new one, but still to reaffirm the Universal declaration of human rights.
Then work proceeded during three days in the form of many interactive workshops and roundtables on topics as varied as violence against women, health, violation of human rights, human rights to food, indivisibility of basic rights, dignity and justice for all, protection of children, immigration, the elderly, or education.
At the time of the closing ceremony, Ingrid Bettancourt, the former Colombian senator, send a message by videoconference. She declared that it was with great happiness that she could join the participants to share her emotion to have been able to listen to the interventions made within the framework of this ceremony. “The Universal declaration of human rights is important because precisely, it is a declaration, which means that it is us, the people of the world, who speak through it and ask for our rights. More than a law, this declaration is thus the clamor of the world”.
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Koïchiro Mtsuura, Director General of Unesco
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Mathieu Chardon, 1st Secretary of UIHJ
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