23 October 2020

Libraries in Belgium Promoting and Protecting Human Rights

Over the past months, IFLA, FAIFE and our partners in different countries around the world have prepared a series of submissions to the Universal Periodic Review processes organised by the Human Rights Council. This month, we had an opportunity to take an in-depth look at how libraries in Belgium help deliver on the human rights of the communities they serve.

IFLA-VVBAD UPR Belguim Stakeholder Input Title PageUniversal Periodic Reviews (UPR) are a unique reporting and benchmarking process that the United Nations Human Rights Council helps carry out in each country once in every 5 years. Governments report on what they have done to deliver on and uphold human rights over the past few years and the key challenges they face. The members of the Human Rights Council's Working Group, as well as other States then offer feedback and technical assistance to build up the country’s capacity to address violations and protect human rights.

This process offers an opportunity for interested stakeholders to take part, including independent experts and groups, NGOs, institutions and organisations working to support human rights, and many others. Ahead of the process, stakeholders can submit inputs that discuss human rights achievements and challenges in the country, drawing on their expertise and experiences. These inputs and submission will be considered and discussed during the Review.

This offers libraries in countries due for a review an opportunity to take stock of their work in the field of human rights; to communicate their successes and any challenges they might be facing.

Together with VVBAD – the Flemish Library and Archive Association – IFLA has prepared and submitted a stakeholder input that highlights the role of libraries in delivering on human right in Belgium. This submission discusses the many different ways libraries help realise and defend people’s right to:

- access to information and knowledge,

- their right to culture,

- educational rights,

- the rights of prisoners and other vulnerable and marginalised groups,

- social cohesion and human rights awareness-raising.

We hope that this ongoing series of publications is helpful both as a collection of records describing libraries’ initiatives to support human rights around the world, and as a way to exchange good practices and inspiring ideas to continue and scale up this work.

Read IFLA and VVBAD’s joint submission for the Universal Periodic Review in Belgium: [PDF-ENG]

You can also catch up on other UPR inputs highlighting the work of libraries in Italy, Croatia and the United States, Australia, Georgia and Myanmar.

Find out more about Universal Periodic Reviews and why these are valuable for libraries.

FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to information, Access to knowledge, Disadvantaged persons, Human rights

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