Organized by the Secretariat for Human Rights of the Brazilian Presidency, in partnership with civil society, government agencies and international organizations, including UNESCO, the World Human Rights Forum will be held in Brasilia, from 10 to 13 December 2013.
This Forum aims to offer a space for public debate at the international level, where world human rights’ main achievements and challenges will be debated, focusing on respect for differences, social participation, inequality reduction, and development of adequate responses to human rights violations.
Amongst the numerous participants expected in Brasilia will be the President of the MOST Programme's Scientific Advisory Committee, the sociologist Emir Sader.
Prepared by a Steering Committee uniting over a hundred organizations worldwide, including UNESCO and the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), this World Forum will be organized around conferences, thematic debates and so-called ‘self-organized activities’.
Among other initiatives, the UNESCO Office in Brasilia will seize this opportunity to launch a series of twelve books on the status of human rights in Brazil. The whole series called "Por uma Cultura de Direitos Humanos" (“For a Culture of Human Rights”) is produced in partnership with the Brazilian Human Rights Secretariat, with whom UNESCO has three on-going cooperation agreements on the following areas: human rights education; the rights of persons with disabilities with focus on accessibility; and strengthening social control over and participation in human rights public policies.
The World Human Rights Forum’s agenda is organized around three mains thematic areas and nine debates:
• Thematic Area I – “Human Rights as the Peoples' Struggle Flag”
This area will address the struggle of peoples for recognition of their rights, the realization of human rights through social struggles as well as recurring worldwide violations.
- Debate #1: “Human Rights and Social Mobilization”
This debate will focus on the topic of social participation around the world, in its various expressions, institutionalized or not, on human rights platforms, bringing to the forefront ways of organizing human rights networks, on the renewal and sustainability of social movements, as well as on the mechanisms for expanding civil society participation in the debate and in the demand of the realization of human rights.
- Debate #2: “Recognition and Human Rights”
This debate will evolve around diversity, plurality and the relationship between culture and human rights, including positive interaction in the search for overcoming the barriers between people, human groups and different cultures, recognition of the right to be different and the fight against all forms of discrimination and inequality.
- Debate #3: “Right to Memory, Truth and Justice”
This debate will touch upon the experiences of different countries that have had authoritarian regimes. It aims to discuss transitional justice, its strengths and impasses, the struggle of the persecuted, the survivors and the relatives of the dead and missing, and the role of state institutions.
• Thematic Area II - The universalization of human rights in a context of vulnerabilities
This area will point out vulnerabilities and human rights violations in their various dimensions as they relate to specific groups and settings, including children, adolescents, youth, elderly, city, country and forest dwellers, indigenous people, “Quilombolas”, gypsies and traditional communities, people living on the street, immigrants, migrants, refugees, people with disabilities, covering also gender, sexual orientation issues, gender identity, religious diversity, mental health, among others.
- Debate #4: “The Conquest of Rights by Groups made Vulnerable, and Democracy”
This debate will study the relationship between democracy and human rights, covering themes such as representative and direct political engagement, right to information, respect and attribution of value to different human groups as a means for the strengthening of civics and democracy.
- Debate #5: “Paradigms of Inequality Reduction Based in Human Rights”
This debate will refer to equity, equality, indivisibility and interdependence in making rights effective, stressing discussions regarding broadening and realization of civil, political, economic, social and cultural, including in relation to the environment.
- Debate #6: “Human Rights in Work and Employment”
This debate will address the crisis of the dominant economic model and its effects on work and employment and on human relations pauperization. In this context, the topics for discussion will be the struggle of country and city workers for the conquest, maintenance and expansion of their labour rights, covering such issues as retirement and unemployment benefits. Work conditions, the relationship between health and work, decent labour, human rights violations at work, specially child labor and contemporary slavery will also be topics for discussion.
• Thematic Area III – “Transversality of Human Rights”
This area will encompass the coordination of public policies for human rights, the entwinement of movements’ flags, the role of different actors regarding the process of confrontation over human rights violations and the appreciation of the participation of subjects of rights as the core of politics.
- Debate #7: “Human Rights Defence and Violence Handling”
This debate will focus on violence handling and public policies with regard to victim support, involving state institutions – putting emphasis on the role of police forces and other public security agents –, private sector, social movements and civil society, from the viewpoint of promotion and defence of human rights.
- Debate #8: “On the purpose of a Human Rights Culture”
This debate will comprise the role of a human rights education for civilian development and emancipation through the strengthening and consolidation of a culture directed to respect and appreciation of human rights.
- Debate #9: “Communication and Human Rights”
This debate will comprise the right to communication as fundamental for the effectiveness of other rights and the role of communication as a potential ally when handling violations and promoting human rights. From the perspective of the strategic role of communication in traditional and new media in raising awareness about human rights and overcoming broadly-disseminated prejudice in society, the topics for discussion will be the deepening of the debate about human rights and freedom of opinion and expression, access to information, democratization and development of communication, freedom of assembly and association and common points regarding communication and violence.
The Forum’s agenda, including the list of international speakers, is available at the Forum’s special website at the following address: www.fmdh.sdh.gov.br