HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 10 DECEMBER
60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
All human beings are born with equal and inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms
On 10 December 1948 in Paris, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Declaration was the first international recognition that all human beings have fundamental rights and freedoms and it continues to be a living and relevant document today.
The UDHR is a living document that matters not only in times of conflict and in societies suffering repression, but also in addressing social injustice and achieving human dignity in times of peace in established democracies. Non-discrimination, equality and fairness – key components of justice – form the basis of the Declaration. It consists of an introduction and 30 articles that set out a range of fundamental human rights and freedoms to which all men and women, everywhere in the world, are entitled.
In his message for Human Rights Day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reflected on the continuing struggle to see the universal human rights included in the Declaration enjoyed by everyone, everywhere.
“The challenges we face today are as daunting as those that confronted the Declaration’s drafters. We face a food emergency and a global financial crisis. Humankind’s assault on the natural environment continues. There is political repression in too many countries. And as ever, the most vulnerable continue to be on the frontlines of hardship and abuse,” stated the Secretary-General.
“On this Human Rights Day, it is my hope that we will all act on our collective responsibility to uphold the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration. We can only honour the towering vision of that inspiring document when its principles are fully applied everywhere, for everyone,” he said.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navathenem Pillay, called for greater efforts to implement human rights standards worldwide, saying “The success of human rights work depends on its commitment to truth, with no tolerance for double standards or selective application. We must work for the full implementation of human rights on the ground in a way that affects and improves the lives of the men, women and children who are all entitled, regardless of their race, sex, religion, nationality, property or birth, to realization of each and every right set forth in the Universal Declaration.”