Today, Monday, December 10th marks the 70th ANNIVERSARY of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A milestone document in the global history of human rights that is as relevant today as it was when drafted seven decades ago.
Although the UDHR is not in itself legally binding, it has become the procreator of modern international human rights law, providing safeguards – and sometimes lifelines – for thousands of people from all walks of life when national laws fail them. It has parented 16UN human rights treaties that are legally binding, including the twin UN Covenants spanning economic, social and cultural and civil and political rights respectively, plus a host of regional treaties in Africa, the Americas, and Europe.
We now take for granted that such human rights standards can be used to hold our governments to account, but just 70 years ago there were no internationally recognized human rights norms at all. The very fact that the UDHR has stood the test of time is a testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice, and human dignity.
The promise of the UDHR, however, has yet to be fulfilled because, as all advocates know, human rights are not a given but rather require a continuous struggle to get and once that has been achieved to keep. In other words, it is down to us to promote its ethical vision as new forms of nationalism and populism threaten to challenge our world.
At HRE USA we believe human rights education is key to ensuring a future in which all people’s rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled. Please consider supporting HRE-USA by making a tax-deductible contribution on our behalf to our fiscal sponsor, the Center for Transformative Action, a 501(c)3organization. Your donation will allow us to continue to advocate for and further develop programming that supports human rights education across the United States.
In honor of the 70th Anniversary and to help everyone celebrate the gift of the UDHR, HRE USA has created this online resource kit. You can also join the international campaign to #Standup4humanrights.