Skip to Main Content
Research Guides United Nations Office at Geneva Library & Archives

World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna 1993: The Conference

A pledge to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms

The Conference

The World Conference on Human Rights (OHCHR website) was convened by General Assembly resolution  45/155 (18 Dec,  1990). It took place in Vienna on 14-25 June 1993.
Representatives of 171 States, 2 National Liberation movements, 18 intergovernmental organizations, 6 ombudsmen, 11 United Nations bodies, 248 NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC and 593 other NGOs participated in the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights.  

The final document of the Conference - the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

  • reaffirmed the human rights principles that had evolved during the past 45 years;
  • made concrete recommendations for strengthening and harmonizing the monitoring capacity of the UN system;
  • called for the establishment of the post of the High Commissioner for Human Rights by the UN General Assembly, which subsequently created it on 20 December 1993 (resolution 48/141);
  • supported the creation of a new mechanism - Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women;
  • recommended proclamation by the UN General Assembly of the world's indigenous peoples and
  • called for the universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the year 1995.


General Assembly resolutions on the World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna, 1993)


Opening statements made during the 1st plenary meeting on 14 June 1993.


Credit: UN Photo. Image 319248

The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action was adopted by consensus at the 22nd plenary meeting of the Conference on 25 June 1993.


  • Statement by the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, Ambassador Gilberto Vergne Saboia
  • Adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
  • Statements made upon the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action


Closing statements made during the 22nd plenary meetings. PDF documents are forthcoming.




How much effort was put into creating the post of the High Commissioner for Human Rights?

Find out in the Human Rights Timeline research guide.

Statements made during the WCHR on the establishment of the post of the high commissioner for human rights (audio recordings)

During the World Conference on Human Rights several meetings were dedicated to special topics. 

Commemoration of the International Year of the World's Indigenous Peoples

11th plenary meeting (18 June1993)

Commemoration of the Children's Day

13th plenary meeting (21 June1993)
14th plenary meeting (21 June1993)


15th plenary meeting (22 June1993)
16th plenary meeting (22 June1993)

Bosnia and Herzegovina and Angola declarations

20th plenary meeting (24 June1993) - two country-specific declarations were adopted

UN Secretary-General invited the following special guests to address the Conference:

  • Mrs. Simone Veil (State Minister of France) - did not attend
  • Mr. Nelson Mandela (President of the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC)) - did not attend