Human Rights Day commemorates the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. This significant declaration was the first global document to outline essential rights and freedoms for all, regardless of nationality, residence, gender, origin, religion, language, or any other status. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) has since inspired more than 60 international human rights laws, constituting an international standard of human rights.
The UDHR is the most translated document globally, available in more than 500 languages, highlighting its universal importance. This accessibility helps to ensure these rights universally, fostering equality and dignity across all nations and cultures.
The drafting of the UDHR was a truly international effort, involving representatives from varying legal and cultural backgrounds. The drafting committee comprised members from nations such as Lebanon, China, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Notably, former First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, played a crucial role in leading the drafting committees of the UDHR.
Human Rights Day is more than just a day of reflection, it is also a call to action to encourage individuals, communities, and government entities to renew their commitments to protecting and promoting human rights worldwide. Human Rights Day is a day of global observance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and we celebrate it by promoting activities and events that raise awareness of human rights issues and advocate for equal protection and advancement for all.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Human rights are not a privilege granted by the few, but a liberty entitled to all, and our shared responsibility is to ensure they are upheld universally.” Let us unite in championing human rights for a world where equality and dignity prevail!
The High Commissioner for Human Rights
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, serving as the primary United Nations rights official, along with the Office of the High Commissioner, plays a crucial role in orchestrating initiatives for the annual commemoration of Human Rights Day.
Latest and past observances of Human Rights Day
Stay informed and engaged! Explore the latest and past Human Rights Day observances organized by OHCHR. Join the global conversation on human rights and visit OHCHR.org to learn more and be part of the ongoing journey towards a world where rights are respected for all.
2021 – All Human- All Equal
2020 – Recover Better
2019 – Youth Standing Up for Human Rights
2018 – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70
2017 – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70
2016 – Stand up for someone’s rights today
2015 – Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.
2014 – #Rights365
2013 – 20 Years Working for Your Rights
2012 – My Voice counts
2011 – Celebrate human rights!
2010 – Speak up, Stop Discrimination
2009 – Embrace Diversity, End Discrimination
2007-2008 – 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
2006 – Fighting Poverty: A Matter of Obligation, Not Charity
2005 – Torture and the Global Efforts to Combat it
2004 – Human Rights Education
For more information on Human Rights Day and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, visit
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