On the left we see someone carrying a child who is touching a windw while an eldely person touches the window on the opposite side. On the right we see a couple leaning on each other's shoulders while wearing face masks.
Left: A mother stands with her daughter, visiting senior parents but observing social distancing with a glass door between them - Right: A Navajo husband comforts his wife because of lost jobs and income, COVID-19 shutdown.
Photo:Left: ©Getty Images/RyanJLane - Right: ©Getty Images/grandriver

 

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). The UDHR is a milestone document that proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is 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.

2020 Theme: Recover Better - Stand Up for Human Rights

This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring Human Rights are central to recovery efforts. We will reach our common global goals only if we are able to create equal opportunities for all, address the failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination.

10 December is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want, the need for global solidarity as well as our interconnectedness and shared humanity.

Under UN Human Rights’ generic call to action “Stand Up for Human rights”, we aim to engage the general public, our partners and the UN family to bolster transformative action and showcase practical and inspirational examples that can contribute to recovering better and fostering more resilient and just societies.

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 hope to 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.

Human Rights must be at the centre of the post COVID-19 world

The COVID-19 crisis has been fuelled by deepening poverty, rising inequalities, structural and entrenched discrimination and other gaps in human rights protection. Only measures to close these gaps and advance human rights can ensure we fully recover and build back a world that is better, more resilient, just, and sustainable.

  • End discrimination of any kind: Structural discrimination and racism have fuelled the COVID-19 crisis. Equality and non-discrimination are core requirements for a post-COVID world.
  • Address inequalities: To recover from the crisis, we must also address the inequality pandemic. For that, we need to promote and protect economic, social, and cultural rights. We need a new social contract for a new era.
  • Encourage participation and solidarity: We are all in this together. From individuals to governments, from civil society and grass-roots communities to the private sector, everyone has a role in building a post-COVID world that is better for present and future generations. We need to ensure the voices of the most affected and vulnerable inform the recovery efforts.
  • Promote sustainable development: We need sustainable development for people and planet. Human rights, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement are the cornerstone of a recovery that leaves no one behind.

2020 Campaign materials are available here

poster for human rights day 2020
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).

Geometric illustration with the Secretariat building at UNHQ, New York.

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. We also mark other UN observances.