7 August 2008
Sixty-First Annual DPI/NGO Conference,
With Leading Activist Simone Veil as Keynote Speaker,
to Convene in Paris on 3-5 September
VIENNA, 7 August (UN Information Service) -- The sixty-first annual DPI/NGO Conference, at which leading political figure and human rights activist Madame Simone Veil will be the keynote speaker, will also feature a Human Rights Village, providing an opportunity to engage the French public in dynamic discussion and interactions around the meaning of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which marks the sixtieth anniversary of its signing in the city of Paris in 1948.
Convening outside United Nations Headquarters for the first time, the Conference will be held at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France, on 3-5 September. As a tribute to the historic signing of the Declaration, the Conference theme will be "Reaffirming Human Rights: The Universal Declaration at 60". The Declaration is the first universal mechanism that promotes and protects the basic principles of human rights, to which peoples of all nations are entitled.
A major part of the Human Rights Village organized by the NGO/DPI Executive Committee in cooperation with the office of the Mayor of Paris will be the Human Rights Wall, which offers the opportunity for individuals to express, through art, what human rights means in their lives. More information on special events can be located on the Conference website ( www.un.org/dpi/ngosection/conference), which was officially launched on Thursday, 3 July, in the two United Nations working languages, English and French. The website is designed to provide useful information about the Conference to the community of non-governmental organizations and civil society worldwide interested in participating and/or contributing to the work of the Conference. Updates to the website will be made daily as more information becomes available.
The Conference is organized by the Department of Public Information, in partnership with the non-governmental organization community, UNESCO, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Government of France. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will open the Conference via video message. The Conference is expected to generate greater awareness of human rights issues and renew the commitment of non-governmental organizations working in the field of human rights, particularly those from developing countries.
The Conference aims to highlight effective ways in which civil society can partner with like-minded organizations to contribute to the advancement of human rights at the global, regional, national and local levels. A major feature will be the emphasis on active participation. The Conference will involve participants in discussion through five interactive round tables, 42 midday workshops and several breakout sessions. In addition, a number of special events and exhibits will be held, including an art exhibit on the history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a display of sketches on human rights themes, as well as a story-telling project which is being sponsored by the Institute for the Development of Education, Arts and Leisure (IDEAL), featuring stories of personal experiences on different aspects of human rights.
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