Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On December 11, 2017, the UN in New York hosted a program to open the year-long campaign to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was signed in Paris on December 10, 1948. The program at the UN attracted a large crowd who heard both Mr. António Guterrres, UN Secretary-General and Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the General Assembly, remind the group of the progress we have made in the area of human rights.They both noted that although much has been accomplished in the past 70 years, human rights abuses continue throughout the world. And many human rights defenders face violence and abuse. It is imperative to continue our work in this area and help all persons access their rights: political, social, economic and cultural. It is only when human rights of all are respected, that peace and security, the founding principles of the United Nations, can be achieved. Thus it is not surprising that human rights are integrated into all the work of the United Nations.
The Secretary General stressed the importance of mutual respect for all people, with the words of the campaign pledge: “I will respect your rights regardless of who you are. I will uphold your rights even when I disagree with you.” All of the six speakers urged everyone to stand up for the rights of others every day, in all circumstances. A former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in reference to an important contemporary issue, reminded those gathered of the plight of refugees today and spoke of the need for a good migration policy to ensure the rights of all migrants. This is but one of many issues that involve human rights.
The Universal Declaration oF Human Rights remains as valid and powerful today as it did in 1948, when it was first adopted, thanks to the work of Eleanor Roosevelt, who chaired the drafting committee. It is the most translated document in the world, yet many people do not even know of its existence. It needs to be part of the education of all children, with its 30 articles which still address the fundamental rights of all persons. The program was a call to be more active in the struggle for the advancement of human rights for all persons and to engage with the campaign #STANDUP4HUMANRIGHTS.