Conference on the Global State of Human Rights, 2023

Forging a new era of justice at the third annual conference on the Global State of Human Rights

News 28.08.2023

In a historic gathering hosted by Right Livelihood and the Global Campus of Human Rights, the third annual Conference on the Global State of Human Rights was held in Venice on July 13 and 14, 2023. This symposium united global human rights advocates with a shared purpose: to reflect on human rights achievements and confront the pressing challenges and violations of our time.

Against the backdrop of milestone anniversaries — the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) passed in 1948 and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA) in 1993 — this conference served as a pivotal moment for introspection and action.

While celebrating these seminal documents that laid the foundations for global human rights norms and institutions, attendees said they couldn’t ignore the sobering reality of a “human rights recession.” Instead of upholding these principles, today’s most influential states and corporations are prioritising the rule of the powerful over the rule of law.

This realisation, coupled with the escalating challenges of our era, served as a catalyst for action. This plan is fully outlined in Right Livelihood’s joint statement with the Global Campus of Human Rights.

In this statement, we recognise the most urgent human rights violation to be the triple planetary crisis: climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution. As youth are the living representatives of future generations, it is vital that they be included in all discussions and decisions related to the crisis.

Another key focus of our statement is a resounding call to end impunity for illegal wars, crimes of aggression, and brutal purges on dissent, human rights and peaceful activism. The people behind these crimes must be held accountable, including government leaders.

The final priority concerns the lack of regulation around artificial intelligence (AI). While Right Livelihood and the Global Campus of Human Rights acknowledged AI’s potential to benefit society, we agree that the unchecked development of this technology risks exacerbating discrimination, inequality and injustice. 

Through Right Livelihood’s joint Venice Statement, we affirm our commitment to ushering in a new era of human rights. An era that reaffirms the universality of international human rights law as the normative basis for governance at all levels, while advocating for innovative interpretations to address contemporary challenges and protect future generations. 

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