The 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna, was one of the most significant events in the development of the human rights movement since the Second World War. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA), is the landmark outcome document produced at this conference.
One of the outstanding achievements of the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 was the recognition that ‘women’s rights are human rights’, leading to the creation of a Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. Twenty years on, at Vienna+20 in 2013, the Working Group on the realisation of women’s rights focused particularly on the role of women in political and public life.
The Working Group noted the role that women journalists and human rights defenders have played as agents for change. It also noted, however, that women often remain outside decision-making processes. There are plenty of formal obligations in place to promote, respect and protect the human rights of women and now is the time to insist that governments comply. The Working Group underlined the importance of ensuring young women and girls are participants in the key decisions in their lives and then only when they are old enough to make considered choices. The global community is currently crafting the development agenda post-2015 when the deadlines for realising the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire. The integration of human rights will be a key component of the post-2015 development agenda.