The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70
Frankfurter Buchmesse and Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association) launch international campaign on human rights
Frankfurt, 8 August 2018 – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” The first of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights summarizes a shared vision of the world, independent of individual national and social structures. Today, the principles enshrined in this Declaration adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations 70 years ago, are as relevant as they were in 1948. The articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are included in many constitutions. Nevertheless, in many countries human rights are violated, and citizens who advocate respect for human rights frequently risk their lives and liberty.
In 2018 the United Nations is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At the same time, the Frankfurter Buchmesse will be held for the 70th time this October. That’s why, together with TV stations ARTE and ZDF and the German news magazine Der Spiegel, the Frankfurter Buchmesse (10-14 October 2018) and the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels are launching the campaign “On The Same Page” with the support of the United Nations (UN) and Amnesty International. With the campaign On The Same Page, this initiative calls on the international book and media industry to become actively involved in ensuring respect for human rights.
“As the fundamental values of the Universal Declaration are being challenged in many parts of the world, it is imperative we all stand up and reaffirm our commitment to these values which are essential if we are to keep our societies free, fair and stable. Everyone can make a difference by standing up for the rights of others, and this initiative by the Frankfurter Buchmesse and Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels is a very welcome effort to mobilise booksellers and publishers worldwide to ensure we are all on the same page,” says Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“The Frankfurter Buchmesse brings together hundreds of thousands of people from every part of the world. Together with political institutions, media partners and members of our industry, we want to set an example of a peaceful meeting of cultures, thereby making it clear that the Frankfurter Buchmesse platform, this ‘stage for world affairs’, only works because basic liberal principles and respect for the other are considered non-negotiable values here,” says Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurter Buchmesse.
The right to freedom of opinion and expression enshrined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is fundamental to the publishing industry. “Wherever human rights are attacked, wherever people are locked up solely for their beliefs or are bullied by the state for their writing activities, we must not look away”, says Alexander Skipis, Managing Director of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association). “The historical responsibility for the behaviour of our institution and other members of the German book industry from 1933 to 1945 alone demands this. One of our most important responsibilities is the dissemination of free speech. We would like to make a significant contribution to the success of a free society. Freedom of opinion and expression is fundamental to our work. Yet, around the world, we are witnessing booksellers being imprisoned, publishers ousted and journalists exiled. In these cases, it isn’t just appropriate, but our duty to raise our voices. In so doing, we are standing up for the rights of every human being.”
How to participate
Booksellers are invited to put together displays of selected books, while publishers can organise readings and events dedicated to the topic of human rights. Booksellers and publishers are provided with a package of materials free of charge, which they can use to promote and increase the visibility of their actions.
“The campaign advances the inherent aims of our industry to promote diversity of opinion and information, and to strengthen every human being’s capacity for self-determination”, says Alexander Skipis. “I would be delighted if bookstores and publishers developed their own actions under the aegis of the campaign, which will be especially powerful if as many different voices as possible from our industry are present, encouraging engagement with the issue from many different angles.”
The social media campaign On The Same Page will begin in September 2018. Numerous events dedicated to the topic are planned at the Frankfurter Buchmesse in the new Frankfurt Pavilion. Authors and industry experts from around the world will express their views on the issue. Amongst others, Paul Beatty, Dmitry Glukhovsky, Cixin Liu, Meg Wolitzer, Deniz Yücel and Juli Zeh are expected to participate.
More information: https://www.buchmesse.de/en/onthesamepage
About the Frankfurter Buchmesse
The Frankfurter Buchmesse is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with over 7,300 exhibitors from 102 countries, around 286,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and approximately 10,000 accredited journalists and bloggers in attendance. It also gathers key players from other media, including the film and games industries. Since 1976, the Book Fair has featured an annual Guest of Honour country, which showcases its book market, literature and culture to attendees in a variety of ways. The Frankfurt Book Fair organises the participation of German publishers at around 20 international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. With its Business Club, the Frankfurter Buchmesse offers essential services and an ideal setting for the activities of publishers, entrepreneurs, pioneers, experts and visionaries. The Frankfurter Buchmesse is a subsidiary of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association.
About Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels
Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (the German Publishers and Booksellers Association) represents the interests of Germany's book industry in the political and public spheres. It was founded in Leipzig in 1825 and currently has roughly 5,000 members, which include booksellers, publishers, wholesalers and other media companies. As both a trade association and a cultural organisation, the Börsenverein works to promote books and reading whilst also fostering fair copyright laws and the preservation of Germany's policy of fixed book prices. It also seeks to promote cultural diversity and uphold the right to freedom of expression. Börsenverein runs the annual Frankfurt Book Fair and awards the annual Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and the German Book Prize. The association also supports its members in the development of innovation and new business models. https://www.boersenverein.de
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