Side event to the Paris Peace Forum: "Universal Responsibilities: A complement to human rights?"

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

From the 11th to the 13th of November 2020, the third edition of the Paris Peace Forum took place virtually. Two of our cofounders Beatriz de León Cobo and Timothée RAKOTONANDRIANINA that had participated last year, joined the 2020 edition on the behalf of the Campaign for Universal Human Responsibilities and organized a side event to discuss Universal Human Responsibilities with some participants of the Paris Peace Forum.

With the title "Universal Human Responsibilities: A necessary complement to universal human rights?", this info-session has constituted a moment of intense and constructive dialogue and exchanges with people coming from different part of the world, such as South Africa, Indonesia, India, France, Portugal, Spain and the U.S.A, among others.

The structure of this particular session followed the scheme of usual workshops organized by members of the Campaign. Indeed, co-founders that were hosting the session started by quickly introduced the Campaign and its main goals to quickly turned into an interactive dialogue, through which every participant had the occasion to share their own experience of Responsibility, in relation with their specific background, cultural and national affiliation. As usual, every contribution was taking into consideration. Unlike some other organizations, the Campaign of UHR prefers a bottom-up approach, that enables participants to have horizontal exchanges with equality among participants.

Starting with the simple and realistic observation that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written 70 years ago by Western Powers, everyone stated that some contemporary challenges were overlooked (especially in the field of environment, sustainable development, etc). Thus, time to add a new kind of approach has come, where empowered individuals are at the chore of process. In this context, linking and introducing the concept of Universal Human Responsibilities flows quite naturally. Consequently, the relationship between Universal Rights and Responsibilities was discussed, and as it was mentioned by some participants, to some extent, universal human responsibilities could be a way to enforce and help assure Universal Human Rights. They are two sides of the same coin, constituting a true asset for humanity.

Then, once participants exchanged their points of view, the way they perceive, live and practice Human Responsibilities in their daily life in relation with Human Rights, a second part of the session was dedicated to the Declaration of Universal Human Responsibilities v.03 drafted with the feedback of 250 people that participated in one Campaign workshop. Every and each article was discussed during a very intense and instructive brainstorming with questions such as how to concretely “contextualize” responsibilities or how to implement them in different circumstances were raised.

In conclusion, this first session has hopefully paved the way for other productive exchanges with the participants of the Paris Peace Forum. The Campaign for Universal Human Responsibilities thanks all the participants of this session for their wonderful contributions are their time.


Elisa Castelli | November 13th 2020

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