Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day Quick Facts - EU

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2023 Date10 December 2023
2024 Date10 December 2024

Human Rights Day

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Human Rights Day is an annual observance held to honour the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly. The day serves as a reminder for governments and citizens alike to respect and promote the inherent rights and dignity of every human being, regardless of race, gender, nationality, or religion. This global event aims to raise awareness about the importance of human rights and their protection in ensuring a just and harmonious society.

In the European Union, Human Rights Day holds particular significance given the region's extensive commitment to human rights protection and promotion. Following the devastation of World War II, European nations were determined to establish a collective framework to safeguard human rights. This led to the creation of the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950, a proclamation that underscores the EU's dedication to upholding the values enshrined in the UDHR. The European Court of Human Rights, established in 1959, acts as another crucial instrument in preserving human rights across the continent.

Each year on December 10th, the European Union joins the global community in observing Human Rights Day. Events such as conferences, exhibitions, workshops and cultural programmes are organized across EU member states to raise awareness and encourage continuous dialogue surrounding human rights issues. These events serve as a platform for policymakers, civil society organizations, and citizens to engage in discussions about the challenges faced in protecting human rights, and brainstorm strategies to address these issues. Through such collaborative efforts, the European Union reaffirms its commitment to the principles of Human Rights Day, working tirelessly to ensure a world where the rights and dignity of every individual are upheld.

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Human Rights Day facts

  • The UN's Declaration of Human Rights was one of their first declarations. It was organized after the atrocities of World War II were brought to light.
  • Over the past decade, armed conflict around the world has killed 2 million children, disabled another 4-5 million, and left 12 million homeless, and orphaned another million.
  • The notion of human rights gained mainstream recognition after World War II because of the Holocaust. The international community decided that such atrocities should never happen again.
  • The EU has adopted multiple directives and regulations to protect specific rights, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which strengthens data protection rights, and the Victims' Rights Directive, which guarantees support and protection for crime victims.
  • In 2000, the European Union adopted the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which brings together all the personal, civic, political, economic, and social rights of the EU citizens in a single text. The EU institutions and member states are bound to respect these rights when implementing EU law.

Top things to do in the EU for Human Rights Day

  • Get involved with a local human rights organization.
  • Watch a documentary about human rights issues and violations. Some recommendations: Invisible Children (2006), Girl Rising(2013) and Nefarious (2011).
  • Seek out businesses or brands that demonstrate a commitment to human rights and make conscious choices to support them through your purchases.
  • Contact your local representatives or Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to express your concerns about specific human rights issues and call for policy changes or amendments.

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