Human Rights Day is observed worldwide every year on December 10, which is the day the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration was one of the significant and foundational documents adopted by the UN in 1948, three years after the establishment of the United Nations and of course after, the cessation of the Second World War, a global war and deadliest conflict in human history with more than seventy million fatalities, mostly, civilian population that lasted from 1939 to 1845. It was therefore, not surprising that after the war ended in 1945, the United Nations was formed the same year to among others, preserve and maintain international peace and security and above all, promote friendly relations among Nations.
In order to give effect to and strengthen the provision of the United Nation’s Charter on human rights and as a response to the general concern within the world community at the time that the UN Charter did not fully address, protect and clearly define the rights to which it referred, the UN at its Third Session on December 8, 1948 in Paris, France, adopted Resolution 217 otherwise known as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UN Human Rights Day is therefore, celebrated across the world every December 10 to commemorate the adoption of this historic document which has today become one of the most significant documents in international law and in the history of mankind.
As the theme of 2019 is “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights”, I enjoin the youth to know that participation in public life is a fundamental principle of human rights and represents essential ingredients in achieving sustainable development for all. In addition and the UN has stated, the youth must be heard and allowed 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. This is very crucial considering the fact that young people have always been major drivers of political, economic and social transformation. Unfortunately today all over the world, in the words of the UN, “the youth are often marginalized and encounter difficulties in accessing and enjoying their rights because of their age”. Therefore, upholding their rights and empowering them to better know and claim them will generate benefits globally”. I therefore, identify with the UN in maintaining that human rights are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals as in the absence of human dignity we cannot drive sustainable development. Human Rights are driven by progress on all sustainable development goals nd the sustainable development goals are driven by advancements on human rights.
Human rights are relevant to all of us, every day
Our shared humanity is rooted in these universal values
Equality, justice and freedom prevent violence and sustain peace
Whenever and wherever humanity values are abandoned, we are all in great risk
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all
We need to stand up for our rights and those of others.