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Vienna+20 declaration demands primacy of rights


CESR has joined a new call for governments and other powerful actors to live up to their human rights obligations. A joint declaration issued after a conference in the Austrian capital to mark the 20th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action demanded that human rights be afforded their proper status. CESR helped organize the 'Vienna+20' conference, which brought together over 140 human rights activists and organizations.

The original ‘Vienna Declaration’, issued in June 1993, was a crucial milestone for the human rights movement, as the international community for the first time recognized that all categories of human rights should be considered indivisible, interdependent and of equal status. In the years since the interests of powerful actors, such as large corporations, have often taken precedence in both national and international affairs, however.

For this reason, the new CSO declaration calls on governments to remember that human rights should be given primacy. Economic, social and cultural rights, which have all too often been prejudiced in the context of the financial crisis and unfettered global capitalism, should be properly considered in all relevant areas of policy making and subjected to proper systems of accountability. The implications of states’ extra-territorial human rights obligations, and the duties facing transnational corporations, should likewise be properly addressed. Increasing threats to the rights of women, workers, indigenous peoples and people with disabilities are also considered in the declaration, along with the critical importance of integrating human rights into the post-2015 development agenda.

  • The Vienna+20 CSO Declaration can be accessed in pdf format here.
  • Para ver la versión español de la declaración hace clic aquí.
  • The outcome document from the Vienna+20 meeting staged in the Austrian capital on June 27-28 can be accessed in pdf format here.
  • For more on CESR’s activities to mark the Vienna Declaration anniversary, see here.