Human Rights Day


Human Rights Day is celebrated on December 10th worldwide to commemorate the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on Dec 10, 1948 at the Palais de Challot Paris.


The UDHR is a General Assembly declaration and part of the International Bill of Human Rights which consists of an additional two international treaties: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ( 1966) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ( 1966) with two Optional Protocols.


The UDHR document was drafted by representatives of various cultural  & regional backgrounds as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.


…”recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…”





It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.  – Eleanor Roosevelt


“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

Eleanor Roosevelt, “In Our Hands” (1958 speech delivered on the tenth anniversary of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)


“From the Balkans to Africa, from Asia to the Middle East, we have witnessed the weakening or absence of effective governance leading to the ravaging of human rights and the abandonment of longstanding humanitarian principles.  We need competent and responsible states to meet the needs of “we the peoples” for whom the UN was created.  And the world’s peoples will not be fully served unless peace, development and human rights, the three pillars of the UN, are advanced together with equal vigour.”

Ban Ki-moon, 2006 acceptance speech on appointment as
the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations.


“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights marked a crucial turning point in human history as the first international agreement setting out freedoms, rights and entitlements for all humanity to claim. It affirmed that the force of shared ideas and a common vision of respectful and peaceful coexistence can prevail over brutality, hatred and destruction. Since then, the world may have changed a great deal, but the recognition of our inherent kinship in rights, of our common claim to a life of dignity, of our right to count and be counted irrespective of ancestry, gender and colour, status and religion applies to today’s realities as much as it did in 1948.”

Navanethem Pilay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (speaking about
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)