Dec 10, 2012 – Human Rights Day

UNITED NATIONS, 10 Dec 2012

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – TRANSCEND Media Service

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted on 10 December 1948. The date has since served to mark Human Rights Day worldwide. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, as the main UN rights official, and her Office play a major role in coordinating efforts for the yearly observance of Human Rights Day.

The UDHR: the foremost statement of the rights and freedoms of all human beings

The Declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, consists of a preamble and 30 articles, setting out a broad range of fundamental human rights and freedoms to which all men and women, everywhere in the world, are entitled, without any distinction.

The Declaration was drafted by representatives of all regions and legal traditions. It has over time been accepted as a contract between governments and their peoples. Virtually all states have accepted it. The Declaration has also served as the foundation for an expanding system of human rights protection that today focuses also on vulnerable groups such as disabled persons, indigenous peoples and migrant workers.

The Most Universal Document in the World

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has been awarded the Guinness World Record for having collected, translated and disseminated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into more than 380 languages and dialects: from Abkhaz to Zulu. It is thus the most translated document – indeed, the most “universal” one in the world.

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2 Responses to “Dec 10, 2012 – Human Rights Day”

  1. Emma says:

    I do believe that people shouldn’t care about human rights only on this particular day but we should do our utmost constantly to promote them in countries where people still don’t cherish the same privileges as we do. Reading news from around the world I realize how important the promotion of human rights is. In many countries they are violated on a daily basis and that’s why I think the activities carried out by various international organizations in this particular area need our support more than ever. And I am happy that my native Toronto is also commemorating the International Human Rights Day by taking part in the biggest letter-writing event of the year.

  2. satoshi says:

    The “Human Rights Day” is every day, not only “10 December.” It is the whole humanity’s rights and obligation to disseminate the spirit and knowledge of human rights and to observe human rights in the best possible standard of practice.

    Note that, among 30 articles in the UDHR, some important human rights are not stipulated. The “right to peace” (or the “right to live in peace”) is one of them. It is said that the right to peace is considered as one of the third generation human rights. But, is there actually a “right to peace”? This has been a big question. Until a few decades ago, the right to peace was not considered as a human right. In fact, some jurists denied the right to peace; it was not because they were against peace but because “new rights” (including the right to peace) were not considered as “true” rights. It was, then, argued that by adding the “new rights” to the well-accepted “fundamental rights and freedom” as stipulated in the UDHR and its subsequent Conventions, we might risk diluting the “true” rights and place them at the mercy of changing policy decisions. (=>> Prof. Robert Pelloux)

    Nowadays, however, few jurists deny the right to peace. Nonetheless, no international human rights treaty has yet stipulated the right to peace. It is because it directly relates to the State obligation and to the foreign policy of the State. Thus, the right to peace has still remained as a “soft law”.

    However, that does not necessarily mean that the international community has overlooked the right to peace. For instance, on 15 December 1978, the General Assembly of the UN adopted the Resolution 33/73, titled the “Declaration on the Preparation of Societies for Life in Peace.” The first article in the Declaration stipulates, “Every nation and every human being, regardless of race, conscience, language or sex, has the inherent right to life in peace. Respect for that right, as well as for the other human rights, is in the common interest of all mankind and an indispensable condition of advancement of all nations, large and small, in all fields.”

    On 12 November 1978, the General Assembly adopted the “Declaration on the Right of People to Peace.” For your reference: http://www.un-documents.net/drpp.htm

    On 15 January 1998, the General Assembly, through the Resolution 52/13, requested the Secretary-General and the Director-General of UNESCO prepare a program of action for “culture of peace”. For your reference: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001263/126398e.pdf

    Some people might say that history of war and peace is long, whereas history of the right to peace has just begun. But this new history may determine the critical direction of the humanity – life or death of the humanity. Therefore, it can also be said that although history of the right to peace is new, history of humanity’s aspiration for the right to peace is long.

    Furthermore, it can also be said that the right to peace is the basic/fundamental norm for all other human rights. You can see a building but you cannot see the foundation of the building because it is buried under the ground. But it is the foundation that supports the building. You cannot see it but it supports the whole part of the building on the ground. As such, it can also be said like this: Although no international human rights treaties have ever stipulated the right to peace as mentioned above, it is the right to peace that enables all other human rights to be exercised. Without “life in peace”, how is it possible for anyone to exercise other relevant human rights? Read all 30 articles in the UDHR. And think of what enables to activate those human rights.