Human Rights Day

Every year on 10 December, the world celebrates Human Rights Day, the very day when, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Declaration consists of a preamble and 30 articles that set out a broad range of fundamental human rights and freedoms to which all of us, everywhere around the world, are entitled. It guarantees our rights without distinction of nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, religion, language, or any other status.

The Declaration was drafted by representatives of all regions and legal traditions. It has over time been accepted as a contract between Governments and their peoples. Virtually all States have accepted the Declaration. It has since served as the foundation for an expanding system of human rights protection that today focuses also on vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and migrants.

Recover Better: Stand Up For Human Rights

The theme for this year’s Human Rights Day relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to Recover Better by ensuring human rights are at the heart of the recovery efforts.

The global COVID-19 crisis has been fuelled by deepening poverty, rising inequalities, structural and entrenched discrimination and other gaps in human rights protection. Only measures to close these gaps and advance human rights can ensure we fully recover to a world that is better and more resilient, just and sustainable.

Human Rights Day is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want, with global solidarity, interconnectedness and shared humanity.

Written statement of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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Video statement of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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Download text version (PDF)

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UN Secretary-General's message on Human Rights Day

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Worldwide Activities

The annual celebration of Human Rights Day highlights how people everywhere stand up for human rights. Below is a snapshot of activities taking place globally.

In Geneva, on 10 December, UN Human Rights will host “Recover better: Stand up for Human Rights”, an exclusive online audio-visual event. The 90-minute programme will highlight innovations by and inspirational stories of people and organizations that are finding ways to rebuild a better world by placing human rights at the heart of the recovery from COVID-19.

In New York, on 10 December, UN Human Rights will host “A Celebration of COVID-19 Frontline Heroes.” This one-hour virtual event will spotlight frontline workers who have borne the brunt of the pandemic, and community organizers who have helped those around them to cope with the pandemic in a human rights-centered manner.

UN Human Rights’ presences around the world, United Nations Information Centres and other partners will also celebrate this important day.

In Uganda, an essay competition will invite students to reflect on a wide range of emerging human rights issues in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. In Cambodia, a Right to Create campaign will be launched based on a participatory process of art production. In Ukraine, an outdoor photo exhibition will highlight the stories of those who are at risk of being left behind during the pandemic. In Latin America, an online concert will be organized on recovering better through music.


Human Rights Day around the world

Many events took place around the world to celebrate Human Rights Day. Discover a snapshot of a few of them.

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.

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.

30 November 2020

The power of Human Rights Education

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

26 November 2020

Human rights at the heart of the recovery

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.

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