Happy Human Rights Day everyone! This secular holiday is celebrated every year across the world in mid-December. But how did this holiday come to be? And how is it observed around the world? Read more to find out!
Happy holidays from around the globe Babylon babes! It’s Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice time, but what of the lesser known holidays that happen around this magical time of year? Between Bodhi, Omisoka, Shab-e Yalda and more, December is a festive season for many around the world. Here at Babylon we strive to promote inclusivity and understanding across cultures, and what better way to do so than learn what and how people celebrate during the most wonderful time of the year? In this edition of happy holidays around the globe, we’ll be exploring International Human Rights Day – a secular holiday recognized internationally every year on December 10th.
Feeling Festive? Check out more of our holiday articles here!
What is Human Rights Day?
Human Rights Day is an international holiday observed every year on December 10th to commemorate the day when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR]. This document presented a milestone in international policy as it is the first global proclamation of human rights and is one of the first major accomplishments of the United Nations. The UDHR itself declares that all humans are entitled to certain inalienable rights regardless of race, language, sex, opinion [political or otherwise], national or social origin, property, birth or any other status. Available in over 500 languages, this declaration is the most translated document in the world.
The UDHR carries a broad range of political,civil, socio-economic, and socio-cultural rights but is not a binding document. Despite this fact, it has inspired more than 60 human rights instruments which together represent the international standard for human rights.
How is Human Rights Day celebrated?
This international holiday is usually recognized by both high-level political meetings, conferences, and cultural events dealing with human rights issues. As well, the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights is also traditionally awarded every five years on December 10th, and the Nobel Peace Prize is also awarded annually on December 10th.
Human Rights Day each year is given a different theme chosen by the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Themes in the past included the eradication of poverty, Childrens’ rights, and this year the theme is Youth standing up for human rights. The UN’s goal is to capitalize on the current momentum and leadership of child activists like Greta Thurnburg, Bana Alabed, The Survivors of the Parkland Shooting, and more. The heart of this year’s celebration lies in youth involvement in sustainability goals given the current climate crisis, but it extends to all youth activists fighting to secure a safe and healthy future. Check out more information on this year’s celebration here.
While these conferences are usually exclusive to certain political elites, there are plenty of things individuals can do to celebrate Human Rights Day. Things like charity work, outreach programs, donations all serve to uphold international standards for Human Rights. According to Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘ Without concerted citizen action to uphold [human rights] close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.’ Change Starts at the grassroots level. Here are just a few charities around Ireland you can help to uphold human rights in Ireland.
Feature Image: Dafydd Penguin via flickr.com