50th Anniversary of Human Rights

The 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be commemorated on December 10th, 1998 throughout the entire country of Belize. The four United Nations Agencies present in Belize, namely United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Children's Fund (UNIFEC), Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) have organized a committee to plan activities which will be executed by the Human Rights Commission of Belize. UNHCR is the leading UN agency with regard to human rights issues in Belize.

UNICEF and the Human Rights Council of Belize met with media representatives from around the country, on October 19th, 1998 to present and discuss the activities planned for the days leading up to December 10th. They had great input as how to improve the activities and how to create more awareness of human rights in Belize through the media. The following planned activities were discussed in the meeting:

1. Debate/workshop at selected high schools and University College of Belize.

The Human Rights Commission of Belize (HRCB) will undertake a debate at the Orange Walk Technical High School in Orange Walk Town and the University College of Belize in Belize City on the 4th and 8th of December respectively. The aim of these activities is to raise awareness and stimulate interest among the youth in human rights issues.

2. Launching of report and half day forum:

A national human rights forum will be held on December 10th, 1998 to include the participation of Senior Government Officials, related agencies, UN Agencies, the media and representatives of political parties. The aim of the forum is to create awareness on the protection of human rights in Belize. The forum will include speeches from UNHCR, the president of HRCB, worker's union representatives, the president of the Central American Human Rights Commission (or her designee) and the Attorney General of Belize. A video of the human rights situation in Belize will be launched at the forum. Plans are also to distribute the video to schools

around the country and television.

3. Promotion of local theme:
A local theme has been selected by the UN Human Rights Committee and the HRCB. The theme, which reads "Freedom, justice, peace, equality…, human rights for all." will be printed in banners and posted in Belize City and other municipalities countrywide.

4. Human Rights of HIV/AIDS patients:

The HRCB, after discussion with the UN AIDS Focal Point in Belize, will be making a presentation at the candle light march and youth festival. This will be conducted in commemoration of World AIDS Day on December 1st, 1998. The aim is to create awareness of the situation of HIV/AIDS patients and their rights.

5. Rights of a Child:

A poster capturing that Children's rights are also human rights will be launched by the UN Committee, through UNICEF, as part of the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

6. Amnesty International Campaign:

The HRCB will produce and distribute the relevant cards needed to collect signatures for a pledge to support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This will be an effort to assist Amnesty International in collecting signatures for the pledge (8 million or 1% of the world population). These will be presented by the HRCB to the Prime Minister at the national forum to be held on December 10th, 1998.

7. Rubber stamp:

It was also agreed that the HRCB would obtain two rubber stamps with the campaign theme. These will be provided to the Belize City and Belmopan post offices and will be stamped on all correspondence being processed during the month of December 1998.

Funding will be provided by all UN Agencies in Belize. UNICEF and the Human Rights Commission of Belize also requested the help of the media to spread as much information as possible to the entire country.

50th Anniversary of Human Rights

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