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The Vienna+20 CSO Declaration: Reclaiming the Primacy of Human Rights

Written By NAFSO on Thursday, June 27, 2013 | 10:42:00 AM

Vienna, 26 June 2013 – The Vienna+20 CSO Conference on June 26 has adopted a joint Declaration calling for a World Conference on Human Rights in 2018. 25 years after the Second World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 the time will have come for a Third World Conference on Human Rights with full participation of the civil society addressing issues of worldwide concern, including those raised in the Vienna+20 CSO Declaration.
More than 140 persons from various CSOs around the world gathered at Vienna on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights and its Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action issued on June 25, 1993.
The Conference discussed and adopted a forward looking declaration based on months of extensive prior consultation in various preparatory groups on the different parts. The Declaration was adopted with broad support.
The Vienna+20 CSO Declaration stresses the primacy of human rights. Respect, protection and fulfilment of all human rights are the first responsibilities of states.Despite progress made in human rights protection, vested interests, in particular corporate interests, tend to prevail, even in multilateral fora and agreements. Especially economic, social and cultural rights still lack adequate forms of legal sanctions as compared to other legal regimes such as international commercial law.
The CSO Conference also expressed deep concern over the increasing criminalization of, and assaults upon human rights defenders – including refugees and migrants – and the increasing exploitation of women in the context of global capitalism. The realization of women’s rights and gender equality, along with the right to live free from discrimination, lay a key foundation for the whole of human rights.
There are substantial gaps in human rights protection arising from the fact that, despite the universality of human rights, many States still interpret their obligations as being applicable only, or primarily, within their own borders. Without the acceptance and implementation of extraterritorial obligations, human rights cannot be universally realized, nor can they play a substantial role in the regulation of globalization. The Vienna+20 CSO Declaration demands accountability and binding regulation of transnational corporations and intergovernmental organizations and reminds States of their human rights obligations in the context of international cooperation and assistance.


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