We, humans, are entitled with certain inalienable rights, merely on the account of our existence as human beings. In order to uphold and honour those rights, the United Nations General Assembly adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. It was the first move to give certain human rights legal sanction at an international platform. It declared certain rights as ‘universal’ and kept in on a pedestal in front of the entire world to respect all humans irrespective of their colour, caste, creed, race, sex, gender, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Human Rights Day is observed on 10th December every year. The day UDHR was adopted is now celebrated as Human Rights Day. The formal establishment of Human Rights Day occurred at the 317th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on 4th December 1950, when the General Assembly declared resolution 423(V), inviting all member states and any other interested organizations to celebrate the day as they saw fit.
To mark the day of human rights, generally, high-level political conferences, meetings and cultural events and exhibitions are held by the United Nations’ bodies and various other human rights-oriented organizations. Furthermore, it is traditionally on this day that the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded. Many governmental and non-governmental organizations active in the human rights field also schedule special events to commemorate the day, as do many civil and social-cause organisations.
This year’s Human Rights Day theme is ‘Recover Better: Stand Up for Human Rights’ and it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the United Nations focuses on the need to build back a world that is better for present and future generations, by ensuring advancement of Human Rights, which are central to recovery efforts. We will reach our common global goals only if we are able to create equal opportunities for all, address the failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination.
Under UN Human Rights’ generic call to action “Stand Up for Human rights”, the aim is to encourage the general public for participation and solidarity, and bring inequalities to the limelight so that promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights can become possible. The UN Family strives to engage in transformative action and showcase practical and inspirational examples that can contribute to recovering better and fostering more resilient and just societies.
The aim of this day is to engage the public and the partners of Human Rights as well as the UN family to take all necessary steps for advancement and demonstrate encouraging practical ways that could contribute to the recovery in a better way.
The United Nations is striving to achieve both Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to achieve a eutopia. But in the absence of human dignity, there is no hope to reach either of the aims. The SDGs and Human Rights are directly related to each other, because restoration of our rights is driven by the progress in the achievement of SDGs, while SDGs are driven by the growth of Human Rights.
The UN Family now aims to fill the gaps created by the COVID-19 crisis, which are substantial rises in poverty, discrimination, equality, etc. The objective of the Human Rights Day of 2020 is to prepare for a post COVID world and fully recover from the current drawbacks, in order to build back a better and resilient world.
Vanya Francis – Hrdi Intern