It has been over 65 years since the Declaration of Human Rights was signed. Human Rights Month not only celebrates the triumphs we have achieved in that time but also highlights the huge problems that are still encountered by people all over the globe.
What is it all about?
On December 10th 1948, the newly-established United Nations published its Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR was the first global proclamation of human rights and enshrined the rights to life, freedom of religion and free speech. It also prohibits torture, slavery, and discrimination on the basis of sexuality, gender or race. Aside from the Bible, this is the most widely translated document of all time.
December is almost universally recognised as Human Rights Month.
The Human Rights Prize
The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights is given to people or organisations who have worked tirelessly to promote all human rights for everyone, all over the world. It is handed out every five years and is due to be awarded this December. Past recipients include Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela.
Rights, not Priveledges
The theme for this year is “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.”, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966.
Past themes for Human Rights Month have included the struggle against poverty (2006) and in 2011, following waves of protests across the globe from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Movement, the theme was the power of social media to expose human rights abuses.
What can I do?
- Fundraise for an organisation the supports and promotes worldwide human rights like the Peter Tatchell Foundation or Amnesty International
- Raise awareness by displaying a copy of the UDHR or Amnesty International posters in your school or workplace