A voter displays proof of having exercised her voice at the ballot box in Timore-Leste’s parliamentary elections. UN Photo/Martine Perret


Secretary-General's Message

This year, on Human Rights Day, we celebrate the role of young people in bringing human rights to life.

Globally, young people are marching, organizing, and speaking out:

For the right to a healthy environment…
For the equal rights of women and girls…
To participate in decision-making…
And to express their opinions freely…

They are marching for their right to a future of peace, justice and equal opportunities.

Every single person is entitled to all rights: civil, political, economic, social and cultural. Regardless of where they live. Regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, social origin, gender, sexual orientation, political or other opinion, disability or income, or any other status.

On this International Day, I call on everyone to support and protect young people who are standing up for human rights.

António Guterres

António Guterres


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' Message

Raising our voices is essential to the creation of a future of peace, justice and sustainable development. And this has been a year of tremendous activism – notably by young people.

In every region, people are working for hope.

From the accelerating climate crisis to the fight against inequality and repressive institutions.

From the right to make informed decisions about our own bodies to the right to participate in defining policies for our countries.

I am inspired by the courage, clarity and principle of the women, men and young people who are rising up peacefully, to create greater freedom and justice.

Their voices are the living expression of human rights – a movement that is fundamentally about building dignity and equality for everyone.

Policy-makers everywhere need to listen to these calls. And in response, they need to shape more effective, more principled policies.

We have a right to live free from discrimination on any grounds. We have a right to access education, health-care, economic opportunities and a decent standard of living.

This is about our future, our livelihoods, our freedoms, our security and our environment.

We need to mobilise across the world–peacefully and powerfully – to advance a world of rights, dignity and choice for everyone.

With renewed determination, we all need to stand up for human rights.

Michelle Bachelet

Michelle Bachelet


General Assembly President's Message

For more than seventy years the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to -- regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language or other status.  

Human Rights are the foundation of peace, development, and justice and are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The theme of the 2019 Human Rights Day is: Youth Standing Up for Human Rights.

The active engagement of youth in all facets of life is central to achieving inclusive and stable societies. 

We have to utilize the idealism of youth and empower them to stand up for equal rights and fair treatment of everyone everywhere.

Human rights are for everyone.

We need to ensure that youth have the right to participate in decision-making and have their voices heard.  

As President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, I have chosen quality education and inclusion among my priorities.

Access to inclusive quality education empowers youth to better know and claim their rights. 

As Malala Yousafzai says:  

“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution.” 

As we end the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence today, I commend the contributions of women human rights defenders worldwide for their dedication to upholding our human rights. 

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande