Why in News: The year 2023 marks the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA).

Important Points:

  • The VDPA is a human rights declaration that was unanimously adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights on June 25, 1993, in Vienna, Austria.
  • As part of the Human Rights 75 initiative, UN Human Rights is celebrating the anniversary to urge States and other stakeholders to take concrete actions in fulfilling the commitments of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Main features of the declaration:

  • The VDPA affirms the universality, indivisibility, and interdependency of human rights.
  • It recognizes the right of self-determination for all people to freely determine their political status and pursue their economic, social, and cultural development.
  • The declaration emphasizes the fight against impunity, leading to the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Action Plan:

  • The VDPA recommended the creation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, a position subsequently established by the General Assembly.
  • It also urged each State to consider developing a national action plan for the protection of human rights.
  • The United Nations Human Rights Council holds regular debates under its agenda item 8 to address follow-up actions.

However, new challenges hinder the fulfillment of UDHR and VDPA, including digitalization, climate change, inequalities, gender discrimination, and the rise of hate speech, disinformation, and polarization.

UDHR (1948):

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted in 1948, sets a common standard of human rights for people worldwide, regardless of their nationality, race, religion, or other status.
  • It comprises two treaties, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), both adopted in 1966.
  • Together with the UDHR, the ICCPR and ICESCR form the International Bill of Human Rights.

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