Past Highlights

Take a closer look at some of the events and stories that took place across the world in 2020 to stand up for human rights.


Salesforce joins forces with UN Human Rights to promote human rights on Trailhead

This collaboration aims at developing human rights education tools on Salesforce’s online training platform.

“It starts with the conversations you have with people around you”

Singaporeans are giving free haircuts to migrant workers, and worlds are intersecting and opening up.

A successful life created by a community: Mai Na Lee’s story

Mai Na Lee escaped civil war in Laos more than 40 years ago. She arrived to the United States of America, where she and her family were welcomed with open arms by a small community.

Standing up for migrant rights, standing up for everyone’s rights

While migrants living in the Mexican city of Tijuana face an uncertain future, civil society organisations are providing legal and community support, and trying to shift the way we tell stories about migration.

“I stepped out there, despite all of the odds that were against me.”

Escaping war, Leo Johnson spent 8 years in refugee camps in Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana before arriving in Canada. He now leads an organisation which helps newcomer, refugee and other migrant and marginalised youth and communities in Canada and Liberia.

Photography 4 Humanity 2020 Global Prize

Photography 4 Humanity is an international initiative that calls on photographers around the world to bring to life the power of human rights through their images.

First-ever global campaign on LGBTIQ+ youth homelessness

UN Human Rights has teamed up with Cyndi Lauper and her True Colors United to launch a campaign to bring attention to homeless LGBTIQ+ young people.

2020 High Note Global Prize Recipient John Legend

The High Note Global Initiative celebrates musicians who champion social justice and human rights

Celebrating COVID-19 Frontline Heroes

Frontline workers have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Human Rights Day, join us to hear from people working to make human rights a reality around the globe.

Recover Better: The Quiz on COVID-19 and Human Rights

Take our Kahoot quiz about COVID-19 and Human Rights for Human Rights Day 2020

How is COVID-19 affecting people of African descent?

Join the regional dialogue for the Latin American and Caribbean on the “Impact of COVID-19 on people of African descent: building back better,”

UDHR in Music

“Voices is an album by award-winning composer Max Richter, based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He and filmmaker Yulia Mahr discuss how the 72-year-old document inspired music and film.

UN Human Rights Office teams up with GIPHY Artists for Human Rights Day 2020

For Human Rights Day 2020, our Office teamed up with GIPHY artists to illustrate compelling content in defense of human rights.

The power of Human Rights Education

30 November 2020 Human Right Education can have a huge impact in empowering people and transforming lives. Discover inspiring examples and guidance on a new online platform.

Human right at the heart of the recovery

26 November 2020 On Human Rights Day, let us stand up together to demand a new social contract anchored in the realization of all human rights for everyone. To recover better, let us stand up for human rights.

Music, dance and art: creative artists show solidarity through work during COVID-19

9 September 2020 An initiative founded and supported by former UN Human Rights Minority Fellows uses music and dance to show support and encourage communication during the pandemic.

Communities all around the world are showing solidarity and compassion to help each other through the COVID-19 pandemic.

7 September 2020 In Ethiopia, Freweini Mebrahtu's factory normally manufactures reusable menstrual pads for girls, allowing them to stay in school.

Youth and COVID-19

14 August 2020 — A new study looks at the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people, such as disruption to education and employment, which ‘risk reducing the productive potential of an entire generation.’

Communities all around the world are showing solidarity and compassion to help each other through the COVID-19 pandemic.

29 July 2020 — In Colombia, Jeison Aristizabal, a young man with cerebral palsy, created a nonprofit that provides crucial services to young people with disabilities.

Grantees of the UN fund for torture victims assist communities during COVID-19

24 July 2020 — We highlight the work of grantees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture who continue to work tirelessly to assist victims of torture, people deprived of liberty and their families during this global health crisis.

Iraqi cartoonists take action on human rights and COVID-19

23 July 2020 — In a social media campaign, young Iraqi cartoonists highlight the human rights dimensions of the virus and draw attention to issues faced by Iraqis countrywide.

“If all remain silent, who will know about the injustices?”

Jaqueline Mutere is a survivor of the 2007-2008 post-elections sexual violence in Kenya. She founded Grace Agenda, a support and advocacy network for survivors that continues its activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Communities all around the world are showing solidarity and compassion to help each other through the COVID-19 pandemic.

17 June 2020 — In Argentina, volunteers are sharing a meal with those in need. It all started with a couple wondering how vulnerable or homeless people are able to face the pandemic.

Kenyan human rights defenders show solidarity with vulnerable communities during COVID-19

The efforts of individuals and groups of human rights defenders in Kenya are spinning the wheel towards a path that denounces individualism but favours collective efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s good to remind people of the human face of an organization.”

2 June 2020 — The Hungarian Helsinki Committee has shifted its focus from legal assistance to providing assistance and funds for those most in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A portrait of Catherine Labiran

“People have had to re-imagine and reshape their lives”

22 May 2020 — Catherine Labiran has been protecting and promoting human rights since she was a teenager with a focus on those who suffer exclusion and discrimination.

Communities all around the world are showing solidarity and compassion to help each other through the COVID-19 pandemic.

18 May 2020 In Germany, LGBTI people are going online to support marginalized individuals, especially the elderly and the sick.

Ensuring the right to education amidst the pandemic

7 May 2020 — A small non-profit start-up in Molenbeek is donating laptops to children from disadvantaged families, so they can continue their learning despite COVID-19 school shutdowns.

Young people, tell us what impact COVID-19 has on your rights

28 April 2020 — UN Human Rights joins the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for the Youth to hear from young people what effects the COVID-19 pandemic is having on their rights, and how their rights can be protected.

WikiGap logo

Wikigap challenge - a public competition to close the gender gap on Wikipedia

24 April 2020 — During one month, 72 competitors improved or created more than 3000 articles about women, including many human rights defenders, on the free encyclopedia.

Manchester City Football star Raheem Sterling

#FightRacism: Interview with British football star Raheem Sterling

21 March 2020 — Raheem Sterling speaks out against racism on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

A raised fist

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

13 March 2020 — On International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination join us to #FightRacism every day, everywhere.

UN Human Rights is joining forces with Wikimedia for the #IStandWithHer campaign

5 March 2020 — This collaboration will aim at editing and creating new content that promotes gender equality and the work of women human rights defenders on Wikipedia.


25 February 2020 — Let’s challenge the gender bias and stereotypes which are so deeply ingrained in our worldviews and societies. Join us to change the narrative and take action for women’s rights and gender equality.

#WikiForHumanRights campaign results

21 February 2020 — Launched in partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, our #WikiForHumanRights campaign resulted in the improvement of 721 quality articles about human rights in 12 languages on Wikipedia.

Somali students in the UDHR training project holding up a poster illustrating Article 8 of the Declaration

Somali students’ training project fosters a new generation of human rights defenders

10 February 2020 — Two-hundred and thirty young Somalis are trained in the first phase of human rights university training project.

  • I will respect your rights regardless of who you are. I will uphold your rights even when I disagree with you
  • When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone's rights are undermined, so I will stand up
  • I will raise my voice. I will take action. I will use my rights to stand up for your rights.

people have stood up for human rights

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