Project of the month – Human Rights Day

  • post Type / Young Humanists International
  • Date / 1 December 2008

Human Rights

Human Rights day is celebrated to promote the universal human right: to live and to do so peacefully. Some of the world’s occupants have this right suppressed [e.g. the right to equality]. This day was declared to raise awareness of human rights and of those who are deprived of these rights.



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.

See the United States’ Bill of Rights http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights

Since its adoption in 1948, the Declaration has been and continues to be a source of inspiration for national and international efforts to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.  

Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on 10 December.This theme for 2008, “Dignity and justice for all of us,” reinforces the vision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a commitment to universal dignity and justice. It is not a luxury or a wish-list. 

The UDHR and its core values, inherent human dignity, non-discrimination, equality, fairness and universality, apply to everyone, everywhere and always.  The Declaration is universal, enduring and vibrant, and it concerns us all.The date was chosen to honour the United Nations General Assembly‘s adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights. The commemoration was established in 1950, when the General Assembly invited all states and interested organizations to celebrate the day as they saw fit.The day is a high point in the calendar of UN headquarters in New York City, United States, and is normally marked by both high-level political conferences and meetings and by cultural events and exhibitions dealing with human rights issues. In addition, it is traditionally on 10 December that the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights are awarded. Many governmental and nongovernmental organizations active in the human rights field also schedule special events to commemorate the day, as do many civil and social-cause organisations.

For example, the theme for 2006 was the struggle against poverty, taking it as a human rights issue. Several statements were released on that occasion, including the one issued by 37 United Nations Special Procedures mandate holders.

“Today, poverty prevails as the gravest human rights challenge in the world. Combating poverty, deprivation and exclusion is not a matter of charity, and it does not depend on how rich a country is. By tackling poverty as a matter of human rights obligation, the world will have a better chance of abolishing this scourge in our lifetime….Poverty eradication is an achievable goal.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, 10 December 2006

The 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights occurs on December 10, 2008, and the UN secretary-general has launched a year-long campaign to lead up to this anniversary. Because the UDHR holds the world record as the most translated document—with more than 360 language versions available—organizations around the globe will be enabled to use the year to focus on helping people everywhere learn about their rights.

Interesting facts

2004 – Human Rights Day is endorsed by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) as an official day of Humanist celebration.


Nominations sought for 2008 UN Human Rights Prize

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights announced on 4 April that it is seeking nominations for the 2008 United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights.The prize, which is awarded to individuals or organizations once every five years for “outstanding achievements in the field of human rights,” was first given out 40 years ago on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  

The prize has usually been given to a group of six winners, although the 1993 award was shared by nine individuals and organizations, and the 1978 one by eight recipients. There have been 47 winners in all. Eleanor Roosevelt, who played a key role in creating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and legendary US civil rights leader Martin Luther King were both honoured posthumously, as was UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello of Brazil, who received the award four months after he was killed along with 21 other people in the 2003 Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad.

Organizations that have won the prize include Amnesty International, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Mano River Women’s Peace Network in West Africa.The prize was established by the General Assembly in 1966, and first awarded on 10 December 1968. Nomination forms should be sent to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The committee that selects the winners is made up of the Presidents of the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and Human Rights Council, and the Chairs of the Advisory Committee and of the Commission on the Status of Women.

More detailed instructions about eligibility and the procedures for nominations can be found at:

Calendar of events around the Human Rights Day 2008


from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Rights_Day

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