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): a milestone document proclaiming the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently 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.
2019 Theme: Youth Standing Up for Human Rights
After a year marked by the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which culminated on 20 November, 2019, our plan is to capitalise on the current momentum and spotlight the leadership role of youth in collective movements as a source of inspiration for a better future.
Under our universal call to action “Stand Up for Human rights,” we aim to celebrate the potential of youth as constructive agents of change, amplify their voices, and engage a broad range of global audiences in the promotion and protection of rights. The campaign, led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), is designed to encourage, galvanise, and showcase how youth all over the world stand up for rights and against racism, hate speech, bullying, discrimination, and climate change, to name a few.
Youth participation is essential to achieve sustainable development for all. Participation in public life is a fundamental principle of human rights. Young people are seeking to participate in all decisions that have a direct and indirect impact upon their wellbeing. They need to be heard to inform more effective decision-making and achieve sustainable development for all.
Youth can play a crucial role in positive change. Young people have always been major drivers of political, economic and social transformation. They are at the forefront of grassroots mobilizations for positive change and bring fresh ideas and solutions for a better world.
Empowering youth to better know and claim their rights will generate benefits globally. Young people are often marginalised and encounter difficulties in accessing and enjoying their rights because of their age. Upholding their rights and empowering them to better know and claim them will generate benefits globally.
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What are human rights?
Human rights are based on the principle of respect for the individual. Their fundamental assumption is that each person is a moral and rational being who deserves to be treated with dignity. They are called human rights because they are universal. Whereas nations or specialised groups enjoy specific rights that apply only to them, human rights apply to everyone.
Video message of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN Secretary-General’s message on Human Rights Day