Human Rights Day – Dignity and justice for all of us

Today is the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The theme for the past year in the lead up to the 60th anniversary has been “Dignity and justice for all of us”. The UNDR has been translated into 360 languages allowing various UN and NGO organisations to spread the word about this important document which informs us of our rights. The Declaration has been translated into Gaeilge: Dearbhú Uile-Choiteann Cearta an Duine.

The commemoration was established in 1950, when the General Assembly invited all states and interested organizations to celebrate the day as they saw fit. It is also the day that the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded. The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights are due to be presented today to Ms. Louise Arbour (former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights), Mr. Ramsey Clark (former United States Attorney General and lawyer), Dr. Carolyn Gomes (Jamacan Human Rights Defender), Dr. Denis Mukwege (founder, director and chief surgeon of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Human Rights Watch. Mrs. Benazir Bhutto (Pakistani politician) and Sr. Dorothy Stang (US/Brazilian Human Rights Defender) are to be awarded the prize posthumously.

In his remarks on Human Rights Day the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon hopes “that we will all act on our collective responsibility to uphold the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration.” He went on say that we could only “honour” that “inspiring document when its principles are fully applied everywhere, for everyone.”

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The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay wants the “full implementation of human rights on the ground” in a way that is “regardless of their race, sex, religion, nationality, property or birth, to realization of each and every right set forth in the Universal Declaration.”

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There are a number of events being organised around the worldmy favourite being this campaign in Austrailia being organised by the UNYA called write4rights asking young people to text what they think about Human Rights. An excellent idea.

If you have any links or stories on Human Rights Day, please post them in the comment thread!

Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for SpirtualityIreland.org and UCC Express.

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