Director-General meets with the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

On 26 September, in the context of the session of the UN General Assembly, the Director-General met with Prince Zeid Al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The discussion focused on the areas of common interest and possible cooperation between UNESCO and the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) on a broad range of issues, from the right to education and to cultural expressions and the protection of cultural heritage, including the protection and safety of journalists. 

The Director-General drew attention to UNESCO's work to safeguard cultural heritage and to its related international conventions. She further stressed the ongoing cooperation between UNESCO and the International Criminal Court to ensure recognition of attacks on culture as crimes against humanity building on the recent destruction of cultural heritage perpetrated in Mali. 

The High Commissioner noted the difficulty of advancing human rights at a time of escalating violence and human rights violations, also referring to "subtle forms and violence and discrimination" calling for the need to "find new pathways for readjustment".

The Director-General and the High Commissioner discussed also the implementation of UNGA Resolution 163 on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity which was adopted by the General Assembly on 13 December 2013. UNESCO is working closely together with the OHCHR, who is leading in the drafting of the next report on this major issue.

In closing, the Director-General noted UNESCO's readiness to cooperate fully with the High Commissioner to strengthen the work of the UN as a whole in advancing human rights.