Human Rights Day (10 December)
“There's no peace without development. There is no development without peace. But there is no development or peace without human rights.”
UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted on 10 December 1948. The date has since served to mark Human Rights Day worldwide to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.
The Declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, consists of a preamble and 30 articles, setting out a broad range of fundamental human rights and freedoms to which all men and women, everywhere in the world, are entitled, without any distinction.
The Declaration was drafted by representatives of all regions and legal traditions. It has over time been accepted as a contract between governments and their peoples. Virtually all states have accepted it. The Declaration has also served as the foundation for an expanding system of human rights protection that today focuses also on vulnerable groups such as disabled persons, indigenous peoples and migrant workers.
Why it is important
· recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world
· disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind
· it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations
How UN observes this day
The day is widely celebrated at global, regional and national levels. The events are usually organized to draw the attention of policy makers and wider public to progress made on the protection and advance of human rights as well as to promote discussions at different levels on existing challenges.
Slogans are identified to bring certain human rights related issues or ideas on the spotlight. For instance, the slogan of 2014 was Human Rights 365, that encompassed the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrated the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of person, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to everyone and bind everybody together as a global community with the same ideals and values.
Additionally, every five years the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights is given to individuals and organizations in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is presented by the UN Secretary-General in the General Assembly.
The Prize provides an opportunity for the United Nations to publicly commend the achievements and outstanding contribution of the awardees. Through this public recognition of the valuable work of the awardees, the United Nations also pays tribute to the thousands of anonymous human rights advocates and defenders involved daily in the difficult and often perilous work to promote and protect the rights of others.