United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO reinforce cooperation

Paris – The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura signed a memorandum of understanding reinforcing cooperation between the two organizations in Paris today.

According to the memorandum, this initiative is “inspired by the reform process of the United Nations system launched by the UN Secretary-General, which emphasizes the centrality of human rights in all activities of the system”. The text stresses “that the principle of non-discrimination is the cornerstone for the recognition and protection of the dignity of all members of the human family” and recognizes “that extreme poverty is a flagrant violation of human rights and a denial of human dignity.”

Mr Vieira de Mello and Mr Matsuura agreed to hold regular consultations on subjects of common interest such as the “rationalization, strengthening and streamlining of the human rights machinery and reporting mechanisms with a view to improving their efficiency and effectiveness”, and the “elaboration of strategies related, inter alia, to the right to education and to human rights education; cultural rights and cultural diversity, freedom of expression, access to information and academic freedom, rights of women and gender equality, human rights and bioethics”. The subjects of common interest also include “the development of approaches aimed at promoting observance of, and respect, for the rights of intellectuals, in particular of writers, journalists, artists, educators and scientists.”

The two organizations also plan to cooperate in the “organization of regional and sub-regional consultations for the preparation of programmes, curricula and educational materials on human rights, peace and democracy” and on the “preparation of manuals for human rights education”.

Source Press Release N° 2003-08
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Publication Date 05 Feb 2003
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