Human Rights Day is held annually on December 10. It is a celebration to mark the day in 1948 that the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Its adoption provided a yardstick for measuring international standards of human rights. Apart from the Bible, the UDHR holds the world record for the most translated document. The translations have been instrumental in informing everyone across the globe about their rights. The champion of the worldwide observance of Human Rights is the High Commissioner of Human Rights. He plays a vital role in coordinating the yearly observation of the Human Rights Day.
History of Human Rights Day
The first celebration of Human Rights Day was in 1948. The formal inception of the day took place in 1950 following a resolution, 423(V), made by the United Nations Assembly. The resolution invited all member states and other interested organizations to adopt December 10 as the Human Rights Day. Since its inception, the Human Rights Day’s objective is to ensure that every human being’s rights are protected universally. Some of an individual’s rights and freedoms include the right to food, water, good health, water, and life; and the freedom of expression and association among others.
The celebration of the Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day is observed by the members of the United Nations and other interested organizations. On that day, people make donations to assist in funding the work done by the United Nations regarding the protection of Human Rights. Furthermore, high-level political conferences and meetings, cultural events, and exhibitions are held with a focus on Human Rights. On the same day, two awards are granted: the UN Human Rights Prize and Nobel Peace Prize.
Human Rights Day is a day to acknowledge the strides made in ensuring people’s rights are respected and protected. It is also a day that the challenges faced in the course of carrying out this mandate are outlined, and the solutions are discussed. Furthermore, during Human Rights Day, the United Nations Human Rights Commission points out global scenarios of abuse of Human Rights and calls for action from the UN members.
Past Human Rights Day Observances
Since 1948, many Human Rights Days have been celebrated. During these celebrations, the United Nations comes up with a theme. Examples of the areas of focus over the years include always protecting human rights (2015), standing up for other people’s rights (2016), and standing up for justice, equality, and human dignity (2017). December 10, 2018 celebrations will mark 70 years since the inception and adoption of the UDHR.
There are some countries that do not celebrate the Human Rights Day on December 10. Such countries include South Africa and Kiribati. South Africans celebrate Human Rights Day on March 21. They do so in remembrance of the victims of the Sharpeville Massacre that occurred on March 21, 1960. On that fateful day, police shot at unarmed people protesting against the ills of the apartheid regime which governed the country at the time. On the other hand, in Kiribati, the Human Rights Day is celebrated on December 11.