Past Highlights

See some of the stories and events that took place in 2017 during the Stand Up for Someone's Rights Today campaign.


© UN Photo/Fardin Waezi

Human Rights Day

10 December 2016

Stand up for someone’s rights today

On 10 December, the UN Human Rights Office celebrates Human Rights Day 2016 by launching the global campaign “Stand up for someone’s rights today.”

As Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, says: “This is not yet another campaign. It is an imperative. With global values under attack, we want to call on people to draw the line; to use their rights to defend rights.”

The “Stand Up” campaign is a call to people across the world to stand up for human rights everywhere – in the workplace, on the sports field, at school, in the street. We hope to encourage, galvanise and showcase what each of us can do to stand up for those who are subjected to harassment, are bullied or discriminated against.

This campaign, whose message resonates with the objective of the “Together” campaign launched last 19 September on the occasion of the UN Summit on refugees and migrants, will run throughout 2017.

Activities across the world

Human Rights Day is celebrated by the whole United Nations family and the global human rights community. Here is a snapshot of some of the activities planned:

  • Austria - Youth short film competition: Young people from Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia take part in a short film competition highlighting how they stand up for someone’s human rights.
  • Bangladesh - Drama and poetry: Stand up for someone’s rights today drama and poetry recital takes place at ASA University in Dhaka.
  • Belgium – Showcasing initiatives that stand up for rights: An event is organized in the capital to showcase local initiatives that stand up for human rights. In Brussels, the "Duo for a Job" project identifies retirees to help migrants and newly arrived people to enter the job market. In the Netherlands, the "Dare to Be Gray" campaign counteracts xenophobia and extremism, highlighting the fact that society is not black and white. The event will also include a concert by "Refugees got Talent", a Brussels group of artists from different countries.
  • Czech Republic – Short videos on the UDHR: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the focus of Human Rights Day celebrations sponsored by the Public Defender of Rights Office. The series of short videos will highlight the relationship of the rights enshrined in the UDHR and the country, each with a call of action to the public.
  • Iran – Standing Up for Human Rights debate: A round table discussion takes place on the theme “Stand up for someone’s rights today” in Tehran. Around 100 students and experts in human rights and advocacy discuss standing up for others, and human rights.
  • Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Curriculum project: A group of law students from the Faculty of Law Justinian I in Skopje have taken on the” Stand Up” campaign as part of the course project.
  • Pakistan - Human rights through cinematography: This film festival, held in Pakistan, will screen more than 20 films and documentaries on human rights in various locations around the country. Full programme is available here.
  • Russia - From 10-15 December the International Human Rights Film Festival "Stalker" will be held in Moscow with the support of OHCHR and UNCT. The video message of the High Commissioner launches the Festival opening ceremony and the OHCHR special prize will be awarded to one of the filmmakers at the end of the Festival. In addition, on 13 December, in the framework of the Festival, a roundtable discussion dedicated to human rights will be held by OHCHR and UNCT with the participation of filmmakers, viewers, journalists and the wider public.
  • Senegal - Human Rights Day Celebration: In Senegal, Human Rights Day celebrations will be marked with an exhibition of children’s art and a screening of a film on migration on 8 -10 December 2016.

Activities in Geneva and New York


  • Facebook Live: The High Commissioner will take part in a Facebook Live session on Human Rights Day, answering questions from around the world. Follow us on Facebook for more details.
  • Illuminating Human Rights: The UN Human Rights Office is a partner of the Geneva Lux Festival and will have a symbolic “Tree of Human Rights” artistically illuminated in the Old Town. In addition, the city’s iconic Jet d’eau will be illuminated in blue on 10 December.
  • Take the pledge, take a selfie: Selfie booths will be set up in the days leading up to Human Rights Day in various locations of the city.

New York

  • Debate: A panel discussion and a performance by the UN Chamber Music Society will take place on 9 December, at the Roosevelt House, Hunter College. UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson will deliver opening remarks, while journalists, human rights experts and activists will be on the panel with Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour.
  • Take the pledge, take a selfie: On 12 December, a photo-booth will be installed in the UN General Assembly hall to promote the “Stand Up” campaign via social media.

Video Message of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Transcript (PDF): English | French | Spanish | Arabic | Russian | Chinese

Secretary-General's Message for 2016

English | French | Spanish | Arabic | Russian | Chinese

  • 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

We can all be Human Rights Champions

Tweet, Instagram or YouTube your action using the hashtag #Standup4humanrights.

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