16:30 - 18:00
Währinger Strasse 3/12, 1090 Wien
Thirty years ago, the World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna on 25 June 1993 solemnly reaffirmed that the “universal nature” of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all “is beyond question”. The Vienna Declaration also emphasized “the importance of ensuring the universality, objectivity and non-selectivity of the consideration of human rights issues”.
In recent years, though, this universalist approach has been challenged, with competing local and regional understandings and standards and more “elastic” set of norms likely to prevail. An uncertain, changing, and war-torn multipolar order has made human rights increasingly controversial as a “Western concept”, threatening their hard-won legitimacy. Certain major and “middle” powers reject any one-size-fits-all template to guide countries in establishing democracy, underscore the importance of state sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs, and abstain from progressive interpretations of human rights obligations. In an increasingly dysfunctional multilateral system, alternative fora like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are the laboratory for new narratives, concepts, rules and standards.
What is the impact of this multi-polar, multi-aligned and re-balanced international order on universal human rights? How can a certain revisionism throughout the world prove a model of authoritarian development, that does not bother much with values other than the maintenance of order? 30 years after the Vienna World Conference, how to win the battle of narratives and restore the universality of human rights?
Introductory remarks on the Human Rights Year 2023:
Ambassador Ulrike Butschek
Head of the Department for Human Rights and Minority Affairs, MFA Austria
Ms Dunja Mijatović
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
Prof. Shalini Randeria
President and Rector of the Central European University (CEU)
Mr Christo Buschek
Independent investigative journalist (Der Spiegel, Paper Trail Media), 2021 Pulitzer Prize
Prof. Brian G. Carlson
U.S. Army War College
Dr. Loïc Simonet
The event will be held in English. It will be followed by a light dinner reception.
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