29.02.2016 - ODG

At the Human Rights Council, Irina Bokova calls for global mobilization to advance human rights

On 29 February, addressing the high-level segment of the 31st session of the Human Rights Council, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova highlighted progress and challenges in advancing human rights, as the Council is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

“Human rights are essential to human dignity. They drive development, trigger social cohesion and trust in the future”, she stated. 

Irina Bokova underlined the interlinkage between human rights, development, peace and security, underpinning the new Sustainable Development Goals and emphasized the new opportunity to achieve universal respect of human rights through the realization of the 2030 Agenda. 

Many challenges remain, she said: “we are witnessing attacks against education and schools; violations of freedom of expression and killing of journalists”. 

“I have described as “cultural cleansing” the situation in Iraq and in Syria, where the intentional destruction of cultural heritage is combined with the persecution of persons based on their ethnic or religious affiliation”.  

In response, she called for “collective mobilization in support of human rights” and reiterated UNESCO’s commitment to advance global citizenship education, access to quality education in particularly for the most vulnerable in society, including girls and women; freedom of expression and the press, as well as to protect cultural heritage and diversity at risk.

On the sidelines of the Human Rights Council session, Irina Bokova met with Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights, to explore new avenues for joining forces with the EU to promote human rights, including through global citizenship education. 

The Director General also met with Miroslav Lajcak, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, to discuss cooperation between UNESCO and the Slovak Republic, notably  in the context of the Director-General’s upcoming visit to the country. 

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