In 2013, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights. That conference took place from 14 to 25 June 1993 in Vienna, Austria, assembling more than 10 000 representatives of States, the United Nations and the global civil society. It made crucial contributions to a new global human rights regime, especially the creation of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
To mark this occasion, the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs organised a High Level Expert Conference from 27 to 28 June 2013 in Vienna, in cooperation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights (BIM) and the European Training and Research Centre for Democracy and Human Rights of the University of Graz (UNI-ETC). The Conference was opened by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights , Navi Pillay, and Austrian Vice-Chancellor Michael Spindelegger.

130 experts from all regions came together to build on the achievements of the World Conference and examine how the international human rights system can be strengthened further. Discussions took place in the framework of three Working Groups dedicated to

  • the rule of law and access to justice for victims of human rights violations,
  • women in public and political life,
  • human rights and the post-2015 development agenda.

Action-oriented recommendations developed by the Working Groups shall encourage States and other stakeholders to pursue further improvement of human rights protection. Austria will present the recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly in autumn of 2013.
Participants of the conference included representatives of UN organisations; regional and national human rights institutions; human rights defenders; independent human rights experts from civil society and academia; and government representatives.

Please find the Draft Programme and Concept Paper of the conference for more details.

Preceding the conference, civil society organisations from around the world held an NGO Conference in Vienna from 25 to 26 June 2013 - more information on this event.