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Human Rights Day on December 10th annually seeks to honor the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Representatives from different cultural backgrounds all over the world drafted the UDHR. Once the United Nations formed, it was one of its first significant achievements. The UDHR contains a preamble along with 30 articles that discuss specific human rights. The entire document discusses universal values for all peoples and all nations.

Some of the rights discussed include:

Right to:


life, liberty, personal security

be considered innocent until proven guilty

marriage and family

own property

rest and leisure


Freedom from:




arbitrary arrest and exile

Freedom to:

belief and religion

opinion and information

Another right, freedom from the state or personal interference, protects all the other rights.

Many of the promises included in the UDHR have yet to be realized. However, the document has stood the test of time. The document's importance empowers every human being in the world. Along with empowering individuals to stand up for their own human rights, it seeks to enable them to stand up for the rights of others.


Traditionally, the five-yearly United Nations Prizes in the Field of Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded on Human Rights Day. High-level political conferences and meetings meet on this day. Additionally, organizations host cultural events and exhibitions focusing on human rights issues. Around the world, many governmental and non-governmental organizations active in the human rights field also schedule special events to commemorate the day.

To participate:

Think about a time your human rights were violated or taken away

Discuss with someone or write about the importance of protecting human rights

Watch a movie that focuses on human rights, including Selma; Dukhtar; I am Slave; and Beasts of No Nation.

Learn about the history of human rights

Ask your children or other youth what human rights mean to them

Read a copy of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Use #HumanRightsDay to post on social media.


On December 10th, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This milestone document proclaimed the inalienable rights that every human being is entitled to. These human rights exist regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, opinion, origin, or another status. The UDHR is the most translated document in the world. It has been translated in over 500 languages.

December 10th Celebrated (And Not So Celebrated) History


Wyoming Territory Governor John Campbell signs legislation granting women the right to vote and hold office. It's the first law in United States history explicitly granting women voting rights. The legislation carries forward into Wyoming statehood.


Chatto & Windus / Charles L. Webster And Company publish Mark Twain's novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the United Kingdom and Canada. They would publish the novel a year later in the United States.


The Nobel Prize committee hosted the first Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden. They presented four of the five prizes for Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, and Literature according to Alfred Nobel's will five years after his death. The fifth prize, the Peace Prize, was presented in Christiana, Norway (today known as Oslo.)


Starring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel, Margot Kidder and Gene Hackman, Superman premiered in Washington, D.C. Richard Donner directed the superhero movies that paved the way for more superhero movies.

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet - 1787

In 1817, Gallaudet along with Laurent Clerc opened the first school for the deaf in America.

Emily Dickinson - 1830

The brilliant New England poet wrote nearly 1,800 poems throughout her life. She is considered one of America's greatest poets and yet she received little recognition during her lifetime.

Ada Lovelace - 1815

The gifted mathematician wrote an algorithm that led to her being called the first computer programmer.

Melvil Dewey - 1851

The librarian invented the Dewey Decimal system of library classification.

Michael Clarke Duncan - 1957

In 1999, the actor co-starred opposite Tom Hanks in The Green Mile. Written by Stephen King, Duncan played John Coffey, a man on death row with miraculous abilities.

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