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    Posted December 9, 2013 by
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    The UDHR, Human Rights Day and Human Rights

    Two years ago when I was working in Amnesty International (AI), one of my colleagues voluntarily took the responsibility of drafting an email for international members of Amnesty International on the occasion of International Human Rights Day. She drafted the email and the email was really appealing. However she did a minor mistake! She wrote ‘Universal Human Rights Day’ instead of ‘International Human Rights Day’. When I pointed out the fact, she explained as the UDHR means the Universal Declaration of Human Rights so she thought the Human Rights Day should have been ‘Universal’ but not ‘International’. I was shocked and I felt really bad for her. According to my other colleagues, it was a real shame for Amnesty International that AI appointed an employee who was not well informed about very basics of human rights!

    Readers, this blog is not intended to shaming her. I just wanted to highlight the point that whatever we know, we should know the correctly. There is no space to guess a fact.

    So, let us know some very basic facts about human rights in the International Human Rights Day.

    After the Second World War, the world leaders were raising the issue of basic rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was a direct result of that. The UDHR is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris. The UDHR consists of 30 articles that have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions and laws.

    In 1950, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day. The main reason of the announcement was to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations irrespective of sex, religion, language and culture.

    There is an International Bill of Human Rights in the Human Rights discourse. The International Bill of Human Rights consists of the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights), the ICCPR (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), the ICESCR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) and its two Optional Protocols. In 1966 the UN General Assembly adopted the ICCPR and ICESCR, which complete the International Bill of Human Rights. However, the Bill came into the force in 1976, after the Covenants had been ratified by a sufficient number of countries.

    In December 1993, the United Nations General Assembly created the mandate of the High Commissioner for the promotion and protection of all human rights. The United Nations General Assembly was acting on a recommendation from delegates to the World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna earlier in 1993. The World Conference adopted the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and marked the beginning of a renewed effort in the protection and promotion of human rights.

    In 2013, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights marks 20 years since its establishment. So, on the occasion of celebrating the International human Rights day 2013, let us hope a better world with less human rights violation and more human rights protection worldwide.

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