60th Anniversary of Human Rights Day

From Wikipedia: The 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights occurs on December 10, 2008, and the UN secretary-general has launched a year-long campaign to lead up to the anniversary. Because the UDHR holds the world record as the most translated document—with more than 360 language versions available—organizations around the globe will be able to use the year to focus on helping people everywhere learn about their rights.

The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on December 10, 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights. The commemoration was established in 1950, when the General Assembly invited all states and interested organizations to celebrate the day as they saw fit.

The day is a high point in the calendar of UN headquarters in New York City, and is normally marked by both high-level political conferences/ meetings and by cultural events/exhibitions dealing with human rights issues. In addition, traditionally, on December 10th, the five yearly United Nations Prizes in the Field of Human Rights are awarded. Many governmental and nongovernmental organizations active in the human rights field also schedule special events to commemorate the day, as do many civil and social-cause organizations (See Amnesty International example below.) Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was a driving force behind the adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (My note.)


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One way to honor Human Rights Day is to get involved with Amnesty International’s Global Write-a-Thon, which takes place from December 5-14, 2008. (Amnesty International is directly involved with preventing the violation of basic human rights all over the globe.) By joining the Write-a-Thon, you will be helping prisoners of conscience and other people detained without due process, often subjected to torture and lack of medical care. I belong to the Urgent Action Network and write letters each month to help with the release of these men and women who have not committed any crimes, but are being denied their human rights.

To make a difference with your words, call 202-544-0200 or visit their website: www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon. Don’t let Eleanor down!

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