Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home -- so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. [...] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to
Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10 — the anniversary when the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights . This a milestone document that proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being - regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political orientation, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world.
This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to ensure that Human Rights are central to recovery efforts. We will reach our common global goals only if we are able to address the failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination.
Under UN Human Rights’ generic call to action “Stand Up for Human rights”, we aim to engage the general public, our partners and the UN family to bolster transformative action. Yet, far too many people are still unaware of their basic rights as human beings.
Know Your Rights!
Drafted by representatives of diverse legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration sets out universal values and a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. Thanks to the Declaration, and country’s commitments to its principles, the dignity of millions has been uplifted and the foundation for a more just world has been laid. While its promise is yet to be fully realized, the very fact that it has stood the test of time is testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all. The principles enshrined in the Declaration are as relevant today as they were in 1948. We need to stand up for our own rights and those of others. We can take action in our own daily lives, to uphold the rights that protect us all and thereby promote the kinship of all human beings.
Women Who Shaped the Universal Declaration
Eleanor Roosevelt's leading role as Chairperson of the drafting committee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been well documented. But other women also played essential parts in shaping the document.
First lady of the United States of America from 1933 to 1945, Eleanor Roosevelt was appointed, in 1946, as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly by United States by President Harry S. Truman. She served as the first Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and played an instrumental role in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At a time of increasing East- West tensions, Eleanor Roosevelt used her enormous prestige and credibility with both superpowers to steer the drafting process toward its successful completion. In 1968, she was posthumously awarded the United Nations Human Rights Prize.