SGI Representative Attends Human Rights Conference in Austria
From August 28 to 29, 2008, an International Expert Conference on Human Rights was held in Vienna, Austria, organized by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs. The conference served to review the 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights and to reaffirm the extant challenges for the protection and promotion of human rights. Representing SGI and as chair of the Geneva-based NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning, Kazunari Fujii spoke for one of three main Working Groups on "NGO Efforts for Human Rights Education and Learning within the framework of the United Nations."
In his presentation, Mr. Fujii emphasized that while human rights education takes time and it may be difficult to see immediate results, it is a vital and sustainable tool to break the vicious circle of human rights violations and their root causes. He also focused on NGOs' efforts to keep human rights education on the international agenda citing activities stemming from the UN Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004) and the World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005-ongoing), as well as the role of NGOs in the ongoing effort to draft a UN declaration on human rights education and training.
The 100 participants included the first UN High Commissioner for Human Rights H.E. Mr. José Ayala-Lasso, President of the UN Human Rights Council H.E. Mr. Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi (Nigeria) and representatives from intergovernmental organizations, national human rights institutions, academic institutions and a wide range of NGOs. Presentations made at the conference will be compiled and published in December 2008 by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, also a conference co-organizer.
[Adapted from a report from SGI UN Liaison Officer Kazunari Fujii in Geneva; photo courtesy of Mr. Fujii]