Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR is a milestone document, which proclaims the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.
This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to ‘Equality’ and Article 1 of the UDHR – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
The principles of equality and non-discrimination are at the heart of human rights. Equality is aligned with the 2030 Agenda and with the UN approach set out in the document Shared Framework on Leaving No One Behind: Equality and Non-Discrimination at the Heart of Sustainable Development. This includes addressing and finding solutions for deep-rooted forms of discrimination that have affected the most vulnerable people in societies, including women and girls, indigenous peoples, people of African descent, LGBTI people, migrants, and people with disabilities, among others.
Equality, inclusion, and non-discrimination, in other words – a human rights-based approach to development – is the best way to reduce inequalities and resume our path towards realising the 2030 Agenda.
What are human rights?
Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death.
They apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life.
They can never be taken away, although they can sometimes be restricted – for example if a person breaks the law, or in the interests of national security.
These basic rights are based on shared values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect, and independence.
These values are defined and protected by law.