10 December: Human Rights Day

10 Dec 2013

In 1950, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the 10th of December as Human Rights Day so that oganisations and Member States could observe, protect and promote the Universal Declaration adopted in 1948. This year’s theme is '20 years Working for Your Rights', as it is the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The promotion and protection of human rights has been one of the UN’s major concerns since 1945, the year in which the founding countries agreed to prevent the horrors of World War II from happening again. Three years later, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the General Assembly stated that respect for the rights and dignity "is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." In 1950, the General Assembly invited all Member States and interested organisations to commemorate the 10th of December of each year as Human Rights Day.

This day is of significant importance in 2013 as it is the year that marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The UN General Assembly created the mandate of the High Commissioner for the promotion and protection of all human rights in December 1993. The General Assembly was acting on a recommendation from delegates to the World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna earlier the same year. The Vienna Declaration, adopted by the World Conference, marked the beginning of a renewed effort in the protection and promotion of human rights and is regarded as one of the most significant human rights documents of the past quarter century.

“Through a wide range of norms and mechanisms, OHCHR advocates for victims, presses States to live up to their obligations, supports human rights experts and bodies, and -- through presences in 61 countries -- helps States to develop their human rights capacity,” explains the UN’s General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon. He also dedicated a few words to Nelson Mandela; “one of the great symbols of human rights of our time, whose passing has plunged the world into sorrow but whose lifelong commitment to human dignity, equality, justice and compassion will forever remain an inspiration as we continue to build a world of all human rights for all.”

Diagrama Foundation joins the world’s mourning for Nelson Mandela, who was always a role model of integrity and determination, and an example to follow in the defence of liberty and human rights for all human beings. In this sense, one of the principles that dictate the work philosophy of Diagrama is the respect and promotion of Human Rights in all of its homes, programmes and projects. Providing support to those who are vulnerable; assisting in the social integration of socially excluded groups; and educating children and young people the values and universal knowledge are only some of the areas in which all of Diagrama’s staff dedicate their efforts and their work, with the aim of contributing to the fulfilment of the Declaration of Human rights as a reality rather than simply an ideal to follow.

For more information, please visit the UN, the International Day and the High Commissioner. In addition, the whole documents can be found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Vienna Declaration.