Posted by Nadia N. Aziz on December 10, 2015 in Blog
On December 10th, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every year on December 10th, the world commemorates this occasion by celebrating Human Rights Day.
The Declaration was the first articulation of human rights, and was one of the first major achievements of the United Nations which was formed just three years earlier. The General Assembly’s adoption of the Declaration was viewed as an achievement for all peoples and nations.
It was formed in recognition of the idea that inherent dignity and equal, inalienable rights of all peoples are the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace. The Declaration was adopted as a common standard of achievement, and remains so today.
In its 30 articles, the Declaration expounds fundamental rights that are understood as the basis for democratic society – none more important than the next.
It has a strong connection to the United States– not just because the former First Lady and U.S delegate to the UN Eleanor Roosevelt, was credited with its inspiration, but because, as President Jimmy Carter once said, “[h]uman rights invented America.”
The Declaration expounds the inalienable rights that define the very foundation of America – It states that everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights. It says we should act in a “spirit of brotherhood” towards one another. It states that everyone has the right to life and liberty – that no one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. It declares that everyone has the right to be recognized before the law.
These rights are an expression of the values shared by the international community, and the ideals we should strive to meet.
Despite the fact that it is not legally binding – it gave rise to several agreements that are legally binding, and it remains a significant document 67 years after its adoption. It is the most translated document in the world.
We should take pride that the rights that were expounded on December 10th, 1948 have a strong connection to the founding of America. Every December 10th, we should renew our commitment to the ideals set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and strive to be closer to meeting them with each coming year.