Plan your own celebration
These ideas on this page are just a start. Think of ideas that suit your local culture/region. Use the Anniversary as an opportunity to raise awareness of the rights contained in the Declaration and to advance and protect their enjoyment within your community and beyond.
For Governments and Local Authorities
- Adopt national and local plans of action for advancing human rights, including allocating funds for activities such as human rights education.
Ratify human rights treaties that your country is not already party to during 2008.
- Inaugurate an annual award for national/local human rights defenders.
Organize a day of speakers and activities on human rights – a “festival” of human rights.
- Set up a special stand-in libraries during the Anniversary year to highlight available books relating to human rights.
- Hold a concert featuring local musicians. UN representatives and human rights activists could speak during the concert on the theme of human rights and materials on the Declaration could be provided to concert-goers.
- Create cross-sectoral coordinating committees to work on activities for the Anniversary in all areas.
- Join the UN Global Compact during 2008. The Compact asks participating companies to support and enact 10 principles relating to human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption. See for more information.
- Develop and implement plans to uphold labour and human rights standards within your company.
- Develop human rights education campaigns within your business for your own employees.
- Establish a foundation or give grants for human rights education or similar activities for the promotion and protection of human rights.
- Sponsor an award, conference or other event focusing on human rights.
- Highlight human rights situations in your area of coverage.
Set aside a dedicated space once a week or once a month for publishing stories/opinion articles on human rights.
- Include a special page where the official statements from the Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as local officials, can be published.
- Print the Declaration in full in local languages.
- Run stories or conduct interviews for Human Rights Day or the Anniversary. Examples could be an innovative UN or NGO project in the area, or a profile of a prominent person who has contributed to the protection of human rights locally.
For Schools and Universities
- Hold conferences, seminars or training for educators at all levels on the Universal Declaration and human rights more generally.
- Inaugurate an annual national human rights research award.
- Organize discussion events, debates, workshops or conferences on human rights during 2008 with experts from the UN, academia, government, NGOs or the private sector as guest speakers.
- Include specific activities on the Declaration in your curriculum. Make use of the human rights teaching materials available at www.un.org/cyberschoolbus and/or www.un.org/chronicle.
- Explore the Yearbook of the United Nations, a rich source of information on those defining years.
- Organize an art competition asking students to illustrate articles of the Declaration.
- Organize a writing competition on a theme such as “What ‘human rights’ mean to me” or “What human right do I value most?” Winning entries from writing or art competitions could be featured in an exhibit, offered for publication in local newspapers or featured on your website.
- Have students create a flash animation presentation related to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This could focus on knowing/understanding your rights, or could show what constitutes a violation of one/some of the human rights included in the Declaration.
For Civil Society
- Organize campaigns to promote human rights in your region.
- Produce a compilation of real-life stories of people who are working to realize their human rights.
- Encourage local, national or regional media/journalists’ associations to organize a competition for the best published article/s on human rights throughout the year.
- Hold seminars and/or speaking events that focus on issues such as the universality of human rights, their relevance in different religions, or the role of religious communities in the promotion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Host a film screening and discussion or coordinate a film festival highlighting one or several human rights.
- Arrange a poetry reading evening with locals reading their own poetry relating to human rights, as well as featuring readings of well-known poets’ writings on human rights.
- Ask local artists to create a piece on human rights and organize an exhibit to show the work.
- Organize a human rights stand at international/national/local book fairs to disseminate materials on human rights.
- Organize an SMS/text message campaign encouraging people to read and know the Universal Declaration.