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Human Rights Day: Celebration, Causes, and Campaigns

Human Rights Day on December 10 is more than a date to remember. This day is about celebrating and championing the fundamental rights and freedom everyone deserves, regardless of nationality, place of residence, gender, national or social origin, religion, language, or other status.

As we go through this article, we’ll uncover its history, significance, campaigns, and some practical tips on supporting the cause. Let’s get right into it.

Featured in: December- Awareness months, days, and observances

History of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Human Rights Day dates from 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which includes essential materials advocating for basic rights for everybody, regardless of their race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin. 

However, Human Rights Day was not officially established until 1950 when the United Nations passed resolution 423 (V), urging all nations and other interested organizations to celebrate December 10th as an annual observance of human rights. The unified consent of all United Nations Member States on the basic human rights laid down in the declaration solidifies the relevance of Human Rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt played a significant role in this journey. She earned the nickname "Mother of Human Rights" for her prominent role in her efforts as the former First Lady of the United States and chair of the drafting committee of the UDHR. Because of her efforts and dedication, she received the United Nations Human Rights Prize in 1968.

Human Rights Day has seen essential milestones and progressive measures, such as awarding the first United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1968. Additionally, every year the commemoration has a theme, starting with "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights" in 1998 and "Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All" in 2023. These events have helped solidify UDHR's vision to celebrate human rights in the global consciousness.

The Significance of Human Rights Day

children smiling and running
Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

Do you know that over 100 million people have been forcibly displaced as of May 2022? Consequently, 41% of this number were children. War and armed conflicts cause fatal deaths and increase human rights violations. The following are some facts and statistics about human rights.

  • Human rights encompass a broad range of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. These include the right to life, freedom from torture, fair trials, education, freedom of expression, and more.
  • According to International Labour Organization's 2020 report, there are over 160 million children aged five to seventeen years old who are working. And almost half of them are doing hazardous work2.
  • Human rights violations persist globally despite international agreements and laws. Unlawful imprisonment, censorship, torture, and discrimination against vulnerable groups are ongoing challenges in the fight for human rights. Some distressing statistics reveal that at least 67 countries criminalize homosexuality3, and one in three women globally has experienced physical or sexual violence1.
  • In the past ten years, the global community has allocated a staggering $349 billion towards peacekeeping efforts, providing aid to those in need and supporting individuals displaced by conflict. 
  • Grassroots movements, non-governmental organizations, and individual activists are crucial in fighting poverty and advocating for human rights. Their unwavering dedication and efforts in education and universal and effective recognition can bring about positive change and resonate globally.

Efforts and Initiatives

hands together
Photo by Dio Hasbi Saniskoro on Pexels

Countries, organizations, and individuals fight for human rights in member states and globally. Furthermore, the United Nations conducts a Universal Periodic Review every five years, analyzing each member state's human rights performance through Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIAs).

Grassroots efforts are also essential for promoting human rights protection. For instance, Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign allows ordinary citizens to write letters to remind wronged individuals that they are not alone. This initiative has led to policy changes and the release of prisoners.

Efforts are also extended, especially in war-inflicted zones where intervention is needed best. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the International Committee of the Red Cross work in this area, providing vital assistance and ensuring human rights.

How to Get Involved and Support Human Rights Day

Do you know you can promote human rights from the comfort of your home? Reading relevant books like "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" by Ishmael Beah or watching "The Square" on Netflix can provide valuable information on the subject.

You can also share insightful articles or impactful videos with your social network to raise awareness. Hosting a podcast episode or writing a blog post about human rights can spark conversations and inspire action. Ensure you reference up-to-date, genuine news and information from credible sources such as the Human Rights Watch.

Volunteering is another effective way to show your support. You can lend a hand to credible groups or participate in local cultural events. No matter how small, every action can create positive change through our coordinating efforts.

Conclusion

Human Rights Day paves the way for a world of dignity, equality, freedom, and justice. Let this celebration remind us that every life matters, with every person receiving the fundamental human rights he deserves. Let's use this celebration as a starting point for a year-long campaign for change.Together, we can make a difference.

Human Rights Day FAQs

1. What is Human Rights Day?

It's a global event on December 10, marking the United Nations' adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

2. What are some examples of human rights?

They include the right to life, freedom of speech, education, healthcare, and freedom from discrimination and torture.

3. How can I celebrate Human Rights Day?

Join local events, share educational content online, discuss human rights with others, and reflect on your approach to human rights.

By Chinny Verana, BSc.

Chinny Verana is a degree-qualified marine biologist and researcher passionate about nature and conservation. Her expertise allows her to deeply understand the intricate relationships between marine life and their habitats.

Her unwavering love for the environment fuels her mission to create valuable content for TRVST, ensuring that readers are enlightened about the importance of biodiversity, sustainability, and conservation efforts.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

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