“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.” – Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
During the Second World War, the allies adopted the following Four Freedoms, as their basic war aims:
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of religion
- Freedom from fear
- Freedom from want
The United Nations Charter “reaffirmed faith in fundamental human rights, and dignity and worth of the human person” and committed all member states to promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”
After the Second World War, the world became aware of the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany. The world community concurred that the United Nations Charter did not sufficiently define the rights it referenced above. Hence arose the necessity for an universal declaration that specified the rights of individuals to give effect to the Charter’s provisions on human rights.
At the 317th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on 4 December 1950, the members decided to celebrate Human Rights Day on December 10 every year because on December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was the first worldwide proclamation of human rights, and also one of the major achievements of the new United Nations. The General Assembly declared resolution 423(V), inviting all member states and any other interested organizations to celebrate the day.
Traditionally, on December 10th, the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded.
This year, the spotlight is on the rights of all people – women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalized and to make their voices heard in public life and to include them in political decision-making.
- Human Rights Day, 10 December (un.org)
- Human Rights Day (en.wikipedia.org)
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights (en.wikipedia.org)
- Thousands of Israelis mark International Human Rights Day (timesofisrael.com)
- Your Voice Does Count, But Only if You Use It: How to Participate in Human Rights Day 2012. (elephantjournal.com)
- Human Right Day (learningenglishmyway.wordpress.com)
- Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities By David Swanson (ikners.com)
- 64th Human Rights Day of United Nations on 10. Dec 2012: “My voice, My right, My voice counts” (imcradiodotnet.wordpress.com)