Vasak was born in Czechoslovakia and later moved to France to study law. He decided to remain there after the Communist coup in Prague in February 1948. He acquired French citizenship and worked for the Council of Europe in several capacities.
In 1969, Vasak became the first Secretary-General of the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, a position which he held until 1980. He served as Director of the Division of Human Rights and Peace and later as Legal Advisor to UNESCO and the World Tourism Organization.
He died on May 1, 2015.
- "Avis de décès de Karel VASAK" (in French). Libra Memoria. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- UNESCO’s Philosophy of “intellectual and moral solidarity” in attaining peace. Archived 2012-02-06 at the Wayback Machine UNESCO. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
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