Take a closer look at some of the events and stories taking place across the world to celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day

22 December 2017

On 10 December, UN Human Rights observed Human Rights Day by kicking-off a campaign to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The year-long initiative provides an opportunity to promote, engage with and reflect on the Declaration and its relevance in everyday life.

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

Activities in Paris, Geneva and New York

Paris – Official launch of the campaign - On 10 December, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Mayor of Paris launched the campaign at a public conference at Palais Chaillot, the exact place where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948. From 29 November, the City of Paris also hosted an exhibition on human rights.

Geneva – Highlighting Human Rights – The façade of UN Human Rights headquarters Palais Wilson was showing the messages of the campaign while the iconic Jet d’Eau was symbolically lighted in blue on 10 December.

New York – Discussion with ‘Eleanor Roosevelt’ - On 11 December, the UN Secretary-General launched the campaign in presence of two former UN High Commissioners for Human Rights, Navi Pillay and Louise Arbour. As a special guest Eleonor Roosevelt, portrayed by an actress, spoke about the ground-breaking and eventually triumphant development of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and responded to questions from the audience.

Snapshot of activities elsewhere in the world

Guatemala - Young human rights defenders, including young leaders from indigenous organizations, LGBTI defenders, persons with disabilities, women’s rights defenders, university student associations, participated in different activities to strengthen their role in the defense of human rights. A series of videos (LGBTI, Cultural) were also posted on social media channels

South Sudan - A football match took place in a bid to use sports as a unifying factor for all communities of South Sudan. The UNMISS Human Rights Director kicked-off the match while the Chair of the South Sudan Human Rights Commission handed over a trophy to the winning team. UN peacekeepers commemorated also Human Rights Day with students in Wau.

Qatar - Various activities took place at a tent built at the Katara Esplanade, which included coloring and painting workshops, handicraft, and games for children. Visitors also enjoyed the ‘Stand up for Human Rights - Add Your Voice’ Campaign video recordings. Activities were concluded with a concert of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra featuring UNESCO Artist for Peace, Marcel Khalife.

Bangladesh - An international conference on the promotion of equality, justice and human dignity; a drama show; a poetry recitation and a prize distribution to the winners of human rights essay competition were organized.

Mali* - In Gao, young artists participated in a training to promote human rights and the culture of peace through “Slam”. Other activities included the official celebration and the screening of videos featuring opinion leaders, celebrities and anonymous citizens reading one of the 30 articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  or giving voice to Malian citizens from all backgrounds expressing what this day represents to them.

Russia** - A special event devoted to the Human Rights Day was organized in the UN House in Moscow. United Nations also supported the International Human Rights Film Festival “Stalker” which covered a wide range of topics related to human rights.

* All links in French
** All links in Russian

Statement of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

PDF: Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Spanish | Russian

Statement by the UN Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council


Video Message of the UN Secretary-General

  • 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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