Stand up for human rights

Around the world people celebrate International Human Rights Day. Photo provided.

by Elisabeth Slay
Staff Writer

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” Article I of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For the last 70 years, on December 10, people around the globe have stood together and celebrated International Human Rights Day.

This year the theme is #StandUp4HumanRights and it’s the 70th anniversary since the holiday’s adoption. Human Rights Day celebrates the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly enacted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

According to the UN, this was “a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being -- regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property birth or other status.”

The document was drafted by a diverse council of representatives and led by then chairperson Eleanor Roosevelt who fought diligently for equality. The overall purpose of the Declaration was to globally recognize everyone’s basic rights, worth and dignity.

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home…,” Roosevelt said.

She went on to say, “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.”

Since it became active, people across the world have seen fair treatment, but many still face inequality, especially in the current political climate. Yet the UN and this holiday acknowledges differences.

“While the Declaration’s promise is yet to be fully realized, the very fact that it has stood the test of time is testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice and human dignity,” said the UN.

While this document is not legally binding, upon its adoption it inspired over 60 human rights instruments and has been named the “International Bill of Rights.”

The Declaration of Human Rights has been translated in 500 different languages making it the most translated document in the world. It shows the importance diversity in unity.

This year’s observance of Human Rights Day comes during a difficult time in leadership similar to that of 1948.

For more information on Human Rights Day visit

Copyright The Gayly – December 10, 2018 @ 7:20 a.m. CST.