The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 1948-2008

"The campaign reminds us that in a world still reeling from the horrors of the Second World War, the Declaration was the first global statement of what we now take for granted -- the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon



"In the course of this year, unprecedented efforts must be made to ensure that every person in the world can rely on just laws for his or her protection. In advancing all human rights for all, we will move towards the greatest fulfillment of human potential, a promise which is at the heart of the Universal Declaration."

High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour

On 10 December, Human Rights Day, the Secretary-General launched a year-long campaign in which all parts of the United Nations family are taking part in the lead up to the 60th birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on Human Rights Day 2008.

With more than 360 language versions to help them, UN organizations around the globe are using the year to focus on helping people everywhere to learn about their human rights. The UDHR was the first international recognition that all human beings have fundamental rights and freedoms and it continues to be a living and relevant document today. 

The theme of the campaign, “Dignity and justice for all of us,” reinforces the vision of the Declaration as a commitment to universal dignity and justice and not something that should be viewed as a luxury or a wish-list.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the anniversary year launch in Bangkok on Human Rights Day 2007, 10 December
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the anniversary year launch in Bangkok on Human Rights Day 2007, 10 December. To his left are Mr. Homayoun Alizadeh, the Regional Representative for South-East Asia, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Ms. Noeleen Heyzer,Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

Credit: Suwat Chancharoensuk/ESCAP