Take a closer look at some of the events and stories taking place across the world to celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights with the mayor of Geneva and mayors of several cities. © Magali Girardin

Cities stand up for cultural rights

26 March 2018

In the presence of Mr. Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Geneva Declaration was adopted and signed today at the Eynard Palace by the Mayor of Geneva, Mr. Rémy Pagani, accompanied by Mayors directly affected by the destruction of their cultural heritage and representatives of cities that stood in solidarity.

Through this Declaration, the signatory cities - Geneva, Strasbourg, Timbuktu, Mosul, Diyarbakir, Lund, Vienna, Erbil – reaffirm the importance of protecting and preserving cultural heritage. The deliberate and systematic destruction of cultural heritage, in times of conflict and peace, through negligence and for development projects, is indeed much more than an archaeological loss, it is also affecting people by erasing their memory and denigrating their values.

The need for reflection and action in this area is all the more crucial as local governments and populations are very often insufficiently involved in the choices related to what they cherish as their cultural heritage, including in particular the process of rehabilitation of any destroyed cultural heritage.

The Geneva Declaration "Human Rights and Cultural Heritage: The Commitment of United Cities" aims to clarify the obligations of cities in realizing cultural rights in the field of cultural heritage and to put forward proposals for implementation, in particular on participatory and inclusive mechanisms in the field of sustainable development and rehabilitation process, the identification of what represents cultural heritage and the development of a network of connected cities.

The City of Geneva shows through this initiative the key role cities can play in reaffirming the importance of a human rights approach to cultural heritage.

For more information, read the press release on the Ville de Genève website (in French only).

  • I will respect your rights regardless of who you are. I will uphold your rights even when I disagree with you
  • When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone's rights are undermined, so I will stand up
  • I will raise my voice. I will take action. I will use my rights to stand up for your rights.

people have stood up for human rights

We can all be Human Rights Champions

Tweet, Instagram or YouTube your action using the hashtag #Standup4humanrights.

Spread the word