Roben X, rapper and activist, greets participants of diverse backgrounds and age.
Roben X, rapper and activist, greets participants of an event commemorating Human Rights Day (10 December) in Geneva. UN Photo/Violaine Martin

 

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home -- 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."

Eleanor Roosevelt

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): a milestone document proclaiming the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world.

2019 Theme: Youth Standing Up for Human Rights

After a year marked by the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which culminated on 20 November, 2019, our plan is to capitalise on the current momentum and spotlight the leadership role of youth in collective movements as a source of inspiration for a better future.

Under our universal call to action "Stand Up for Human rights," we aim to celebrate the potential of youth as constructive agents of change, amplify their voices, and engage a broad range of global audiences in the promotion and protection of rights. The campaign, led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), is designed to encourage, galvanise, and showcase how youth all over the world stand up for rights and against racism, hate speech, bullying, discrimination, and climate change, to name a few.

Why Youth?

  • Youth participation is essential to achieve sustainable development for all.
    Participation in public life is a fundamental principle of human rights. Young people are seeking to participate in all decisions that have a direct and indirect impact upon their wellbeing. They need to be heard to inform more effective decision-making and achieve sustainable development for all.
  • Youth can play a crucial role in positive change.
    Young people have always been major drivers of political, economic and social transformation. They are at the forefront of grassroots mobilizations for positive change and bring fresh ideas and solutions for a better world.
  • Empowering youth to better know and claim their rights will generate benefits globally.
    Young people are often marginalized and encounter difficulties in accessing and enjoying their rights because of their age. Upholding their rights and empowering them to better know and claim them will generate benefits globally.

Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals

Human rights are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as in the absence of human dignity we cannot drive sustainable development. Human Rights are driven by progress on all SDGs, and the SDGs are driven by advancements on human rights. Find out how UN agencies strive to put human rights at the centre of their work.

Never too young to change the world

  • Youth participation is essential to achieve sustainable development for all
  • Youth can play a crucial role in positive change
  • Empowering youth to better know and claim their rights will generate benefits globally

#StandUp4HumanRights

  • Human rights are relevant to all of us, every day
  • Our shared humanity is rooted in these universal values
  • Equality, justice and freedom prevent violence and sustain peace
  • Whenever and wherever humanity's values are abandoned, we all are at greater risk
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all
  • We need to stand up for our rights and those of others

2019 Campaign materials are available here

Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt of the USA, right, re-elected Chairman of the Commission for this session, is seen with two representatives also on the Commission: Mrs. Minerva Bernadino of the Dominican Republic, left, and Miss Ana Figueroa of Chile.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s leading role as Chairperson of the drafting committee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been well documented. But other women also played essential parts in shaping the document. Learn more about some of them here.

Cover of the illustrated version of the UDHR.

The illustrated edition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created and designed in a partnership between the artist Yacine Ait Kaci (YAK) creator of Elyx, the UN Regional information Centre (UNRIC), and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights - Regional Office for Europe (OHCHR).

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. More information available here.