Let’s stand up for equality, justice and human dignity
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This year, Human Rights Day marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being — regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.
Drafted by representatives of diverse legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration sets out universal values and a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. It establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person. Thanks to the Declaration, and States’ commitments to its principles, the dignity of millions has been uplifted and the foundation for a more just world has been laid. While its promise is yet to be fully realized, the very fact that it has stood the test of time is testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice and human dignity.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all. The principles enshrined in the Declaration are as relevant today as they were in 1948. We need to stand up for our own rights and those of others. We can take action in our own daily lives, to uphold the rights that protect us all and thereby promote the kinship of all human beings.
The UDHR empowers us all: It establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person. It confirms that the State has a core duty to promote standards of life that enable us to exercise our dignity and equality, in larger freedom.
Human rights are relevant for all of us, every day. Human rights include our rights to freedom from fear and from want, freedom to speak up, rights to health and education; and to enjoy the benefits of measures to advance economic and social justice.
Ours is a shared humanity rooted in these universal values. We are inter-connected. These human rights that we have in common, solidarity with each other and fulfilment of human rights responsibilities are what bind us together on our shared planet.
Equality, justice and freedom prevent violence and sustain peace. Respect for human rights, and sound, impartial rule of law to resolve disputes are at the core of development and peace.
Whenever and wherever humanity’s values are abandoned, we all are at greater risk. We are at a crossroads. Attacks on human rights by people who want to profit from hatred and exploitation erode freedom and equality locally and globally. This can be, must be, resisted.
We need to stand up for our rights and those of others. Each of us can stand up. We can take action in our own daily lives, to uphold the rights that protect us all and thereby promote the kinship of all human beings.
The anniversary’s hashtag is #standup4humanrights. It builds on the UN Human Rights Stand Up campaign, which calls on people to take action for greater freedoms, stronger respect and more compassion for the rights of others.