Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As the chair of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force in creating the 1948 charter of liberties which will always be her legacy: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She made an insightful speech that is still as relevant today as it was then. 

“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…Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

This year’s theme relates to ‘Equality’ and Article 1 of the UDHR – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

My thoughts this year are with friends in Afghanistan and Burma whose human rights continue to suffer under harsh regimes.  

But I am also thinking about the fact that here in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander people still suffer in many instances from a lack of human rights.

This day is also the last day of the international campaign 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which calls for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

In other areas, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a major crossroads: either we take the route of collective action and address the pervasive inequalities that have risen across the globe, or we continue on the route filled with deep-rooted injustices and pervasive inequalities.

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 respect among all human beings.

I found this link to the United Nations exhibits on human rights. There are some extraordinary images from talented amateur and professional photographers from exhibitions for the general public that have been showcased over the years at United Nations Headquarters.  Something to think about.