Universal Declaration of Human Rights
adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris.
Federico Mayor Zaragoza
During his 12 years as head of UNESCO (1987-1999) Mayor gave new life to the organization's mission to "build a bastion of peace in the minds of all people", putting the institution at the service of peace, tolerance, human rights and peaceful coexistence, working within the scope of its powers and remaining faithful to its original goals.
Under Mayor's guidance, UNESCO created the Culture of Peace Programme, whose objectives revolve around four main themes:
- Education for peace, human rights, and democracy;
- Fight against isolation and poverty;
- Defence of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue;
- Conflict prevention and the consolidation of peace.
"We, the peoples, have decided to spare our children the horror of war".
Education, the Cornerstone of Democracy
"First and foremost, we need to ask what democracy actually is. The term democracy is of Greek origin and means 'rule by the people'.
It is the people who rule, the voice of the people is interpreted by the authorities in order to carry out the people's will, not their authority. This is the difference between democracy, autocracy, plutocracy, oligarchy, bureaucracy, technocracy. It is really all the people, the citizens, who rule. And for a democracy to be truly genuine, all the citizens must have the right to express themselves, to participate.
I have backed the concept of the culture of peace and non-violence versus the culture of imposition, of force, which has always been present in our history. Cicero deceived us, because he told us: "Si pace frui volumus, bellum gerendum est" (Philippicæ); "if you want peace, get ready for war" and it is true: we have been getting ready for war, and when you get ready for war, you make war. Now we have realised, albeit very late, that we must get ready for peace, if we want peace, we must get ready for peace.
So we should do away with so much imposing: I'm bigger than you, I'm stronger than you, I'm richer than you, so you must obey me; I'm the boss and you'll do what I say. That must all stop, and we must replace it with a relationship of dialogue, understanding, dissent, discussion.
Human Rights Education
Education, training and information aiming at building a universal culture of human rights through the sharing of knowledge, imparting of skills and moulding of attitudes directed to:
- The strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
- The full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity;
- The promotion of understanding, tolerance, gender equality and friendship among all nations, indigenous peoples and racial, national, ethnic, religious and linguistic groups;
- The enabling of all persons to participate effectively in a free and democratic society governed by the rule of law;
- The building and maintenance of peace;
- The promotion of people-centred sustainable development and social justice.
Do whatever you can to support the universal cause of human rights and Federico Mayor's struggle for an "Alliance of Civilizations".
Together we can make a better world!