December 10th marks Human Rights Day, commemorating the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Independence (UDHR) in 1984. For context, the UDHR is an international document, and foundational piece of human rights law, that ensures the inalienable rights of all human beings. On Human Rights Day we acknowledge the impact of the UDHR and the importance of human rights. This year’s Human Rights Day theme is “Equality – Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights.” This is in reference to Article 1 of the UDHR – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” This theme is aligned with the 2030 Agenda and the UN approach outlined in Shared Framework on Leaving No One Behind: Equality and Non-Discrimination at the Heart of Sustainable Development.
In observance of Human Rights Day, we recognize the aim of the UDHR in establishing a common standard of living that everyone across the globe is entitled to, while also encouraging the United Nations (UN) member states to strive to extend that standard of living to their nation.
Although this document is more of a declarative statement and it is not legally binding, it has influenced a lot of today’s international human rights legislation.
What’s Happening at UConn? The University of Connecticut is home to the Human Rights Institute (HRI) and Dodd Impact that work to advance the knowledge and practice of human rights through research, programming initiatives, teaching and engagement within the UConn community.
In observance of Human Rights Day, the Dodd Impact program and the Neag School of Education will be hosting a roundtable. This event will focus on the role of civics and human rights education in defending democracy, entitled “Civics Education & Democracy Today: Bringing Human Rights Close to Home.” Opening remarks will be made by UConn Alum and U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona.
In addition to recognizing the UDHR and the reasons we observe Human Rights Day, here are some additional ways to observe Human Rights Day.
How to Observe Human Rights Day:
1) Donate to your favorite Human Rights charity
2) Utilize social media to bring awareness to a Human Rights (e.g., issue, petition, event)
3) Start a Know Your Rights campaign
4) Attend/Host a Human Rights event (e.g., political conference, exhibition, debate, cultural event etc.)
Human Rights Day gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the strides that have been made since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Independence (UDHR) in 1984.