10 December 2001


VIENNA, 10 December (UN Information Service) – Worldwide volunteer activities of the Vienna based NGO community will be presented at the Vienna International Centre on Tuesday, 11 December 2001 to mark the International Year of Volunteers 2001 and the International Day of Human Rights. The event is jointly organized by UNIS and CONGO (Conference of NGOs in consultative relationship with the UN).

Information material including leaflets and posters will be available from more than 10 information tables in the Rotunda from 12:00 to 15:00. Benetton posters featuring people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and age but with a common feeling of commitment to the weak and suffering will be hung from the Rotunda balcony. A video clip with images of volunteers and a message of the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will be shown on the monitor.

The International Year of Volunteers promotes volunteers of all ages, those who work alone or as part of an organization meeting needs and promoting human rights in their community or on the other side of the globe. Although volunteers are often not seen and rarely make headlines, they make a difference in the everyday lives of those in need. UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan spoke of the magnificent contribution of volunteers in advancing the ideas of the United Nations at the special event to mark the close of the International Year of Volunteers 2001 at Headquarters on 5 December: "They help us carry out our work in sometimes difficult and dangerous conditions. They fight poverty and marginalisation. They bring assistance to those in need and help us protect the global environment. Without their courage, generosity and dedication, the work of the United Nations would be much more difficult."

The NGOs will also be presenting their work in the field of Human Rights, where they promote and monitor international conventions. On Human Rights Day (observed on 10 December) the United Nations is being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In his message for Human Rights Day, UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan said: "Let us resolve to treat all men and women on this planet – whatever their race, creed or nationality – as fellow members of the human family, whose destiny we share. Let us respect their rights as we would wish them to respect ours."

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