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Human Rights Day 2014


Members of civil society hold placards during a protest against honor killing in Lahore, Pakistan.

On December 10th, the global community observes International Human Rights Day, to commemorate the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On December 10th, the global community observes International Human Rights Day, to commemorate the 1948 adoption by the United Nations General Assembly, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the first global enunciation of the inalienable rights of mankind.

The Declaration states that every human being is entitled to decide how and where to live his or her life; to express an opinion; to worship a god of his or her own choosing, or not at all; to be treated as an equal of his or her peers before a court of law; to participate in public life, and to have his or her voice heard in matters concerning the community, the country, the common future.

“In a truest sense, human rights are a fundamental object of law and government in a just society. Human rights exist to the degree that they are respected by people in relations with each other and by governments in relations with their citizens,” said Eleanor Roosevelt, a member of the first U.S. Delegation to the United Nations and head of the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission.

This year’s theme, Human Rights 365, emphasizes the idea that every day is Human Rights Day: that every day, in every way, each human being, regardless of gender or gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious conviction is entitled to the full range of human rights, including liberty, equality, and justice under the law.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the basis of the modern human rights movement, and for the past 66 years, has served as the guiding principle for constitutions of newly independent nations, as well as both international and trans-national organizations. And it has inspired civil society and human rights groups in their efforts to bring pressure on governments that violate the human rights of their own citizens.

Today, as we observe International Human Rights Day, we celebrate the Declaration of Human Rights: the document that, now and in the future, represents moral force in the world.

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