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70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The UN Human Rights Office on Tuesday announced the start, in mid-November, of “a month of activation,” involving events all across the world, leading up to the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the iconic Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948.

The UDHR, based on the powerful premise that we are all “born free and equal in dignity and rights,” has spread further and been translated into more languages than any other text ever.

The aim of the celebratory events sponsored by the UN Human Rights Office is “to shine a light on the many ways in which universal human rights contribute to the daily lives of people everywhere.” Signature events will be held in 14 cities, spanning seven time zones, with each spotlighting a human rights theme relevant to that location:

Africa
• Dakar (Nov 30) – Our right to accountability when rights are violated
• Pretoria (Dec 7) – Young people standing up for rights
• Marrakesh (Dec 10) – The human rights of migrants
Asia-Pacific
• Suva (Nov 16) – Our right to live on a healthy planet
• Bangkok (Nov 28) – The rights of people on the move
Europe
• Manchester (Nov 12) – Our right to live in harmony
• Paris (Dec 4) – The city where the UDHR was adopted in 1948
• Geneva (Dec 13) – Upholding rights for a future we all want
Latin America
• Mexico City (Dec 6) – Our right to defend human rights
• Panama City (Dec 10) – Children as defenders of rights
• Santiago (Dec 10) – Women’s rights are human rights
Middle East
• Doha (Dec 9) – Our right to peace
North America
• Los Angeles (Dec 10) – Human rights in the city
• New York (Dec 18) – UN Human Rights Award ceremony

In addition to the 14 signature events, each of which will be accompanied by a social media campaign featuring prominent global and local public figures standing up for human rights, numerous other celebrations are being organized by Governments, NGOs, academic institutions, and many others all over the world.

“I urge everyone to join in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration. Join us at the public events if you can, or organize one yourself. Any way that you can take part actively – shining your light on rights – will make a difference, even if it is simply by participating on social media,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. “By doing so, we can show just how precious the UDHR is to people all over the world, and the universal nature of the values it contains. It was an inspiration, a sensation, in 1948, and it is still an astonishing and inspiring document today.”

“The preservation of the human rights set out in the Declaration is vital to each and every one us – woman, man and child. Human rights are essential for the protection and dignity of our loved ones, our families and friends, our neighbours and our communities – for all of us, whether living in the smallest village or in the greatest of cities. Violations of anyone’s rights potentially undermine the rights of all of us. So I urge everyone to use the UDHR’s 70th anniversary to reflect on what rights mean, and think of ways we can actively stand up for the rights of not just ourselves, but of everyone else.”

In addition to the events taking place over the next month, on 9 November the UN Human Rights Office will start publishing a series of short articles on each of the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration. These will be published – one article a day – on www.ohchr.org and issued to media across the world.

A more detailed introduction to this series of 30 articles on the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration will be sent to media on 8 November, followed by the article on Article 1 the next day, 9 November.

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