On 23 May, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, attended the annual meeting of the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group (RoLCRG). This was the first time UNESCO was invited to participate in the work of the group, which is chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General, Mr Jan Eliasson and brings together senior officials from across the UN system.
The focus of the meeting fell on the interconnection between the rule of law and international human rights and normative work, the third pillar of the United Nations mandate and action, and work by the UN across the world.
Participants discussed also on how to integrate human rights and the rule of law in the post-2015 development agenda.
The meeting addressed possible options for strengthening the coordination of UN work across these fields.
During the meeting, the Director-General highlighted UNESCO’s work in advancing human rights and the rule of law. She referred in particular to UNESCO's mandate and action across a wide spectrum -- including for the right to education, the right to information, and freedom of opinion and expression, as well as cultural rights.
She presented also UNESCO's work to combat against the illicit trafficking of cultural goods through the protection of cultural and natural heritage, as well as the fight against illicit import, export and trafficking of cultural property.
Referring to the work the Organization is leading in the field of freedom of expression, the Director-General spoke of the “Resolution on the safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity”, adopted at the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in December 2013, and the importance of “ensuring that every journalist can do her or his job safely and to fight impunity is essential for democracy, human rights and good governance.” She referred in particular to UNESCO's work with pilot countries across the world to implement the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.