Human Rights Day 2022: History, Significance, Celebrations and Theme

Human Rights Day is annually observed on 10th December. This day celebrates and promotes the values of human rights and spreads awareness about the importance of having human rights for all humans in our world despite all of the differences.  

The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations. 

This day is celebrated every 10 December to create awareness and mobilize political will to promote respect for the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. 

Event Human Rights Day
Date December 10, 2022
Day Saturday
Significance The day celebrates and promotes the values of human rights
Observed by World wide

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Human Rights Day History: 

The belief that everyone, by virtue of her or his humanity, is entitled to certain human rights is fairly new and is something stemming from an evolution of the consideration of human dignity over the last centuries. Its roots lie in earlier tradition and documents of many cultures. The origins  of Human Rights are ideally pinpointed to the year 539 BC. When the troops of Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon. Cyrus freed the slaves, declared that all people had the right to choose their own religion, and established racial equality. These and other principles were recorded on a baked-clay cylinder known as the Cyrus Cylinder, whose provisions served as inspiration for the first four Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Another cornerstone in Human Rights History is represented by the promulgation of the Magna Charta in 1215 which introduced a raw concept of “Rule of Law” and the basic idea of defined rights and liberties to all persons, which offers protection from arbitrary prosecution and incarceration. Before the Magna Charta, the rule of law,  now considered as a key principle for good governance in any modern democratic society,  was perceived as a divine justice, solely distributed by the monarch or the king or, in this case, King John of England. An evolution of the concepts expressed by the Magna Carta  is represented by the English Bill of Rights. 

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted in 1789, by France’s National Assembly , represents one of the basic charters of human liberties, containing the principles that inspired the French Revolution. The basic value introduced by the Declaration was that all “men are born and remain free and equal in rights”, which were specified as the rights of liberty, private property, the inviolability of the person, and resistance to oppression. All citizens were equal before the law and were to have the right to participate in legislation directly or indirectly; no one was to be arrested without a judicial order. Freedom of religion and freedom of speech were safeguarded within the bounds of public “order” and “law”.

The time for a revolution and a deep progress in the protection and promotion of human dignity was ripe. Eventually, it took the catalyst of World War II to propel human rights onto the global stage and into the global conscience. The unprecedented cruelties perpetrated during the conflict and outside it such as the extermination by Nazi Germany of over six million Jews, Sinti and Romani (gypsies), homosexuals, and persons with disabilities horrified the world. The idea of human rights thus emerged even stronger than ever after World War II. Governments then committed themselves to establishing the United Nations, with the primary goal of bolstering international peace and preventing conflict. 

Human Rights Day is the anniversary of the day  in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The day’s popularity is perhaps best demonstrated by the commemorative stamp that was issued by the United Nations Postal Administration in 1952, which received over 200,000 advanced orders. The aim of the Declaration of Human Rights is to establish a common standard of living for all people across the planet that everyone is entitled to, and to in turn encourage all UN member states to strive towards the said standard of living for the people in their nation. 

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Human Rights Day Significance: 

“Human rights” are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of our nationality, residence, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without any form of discrimination or persecution. They are commonly understood as inalienable, fundamental rights “to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being”. They are applicable everywhere and at every time in the sense of being universal, and they are egalitarian in the sense of being the same for everyone.  

Human rights are a set of principles concerned with equality and fairness. They recognise our freedom to make choices about our lives and to develop our potential as human beings. They are about living a life free from fear, harassment or discrimination. Human rights can broadly be defined as a number of basic rights that people from around the world have agreed are essential. These include the right to life, the right to a fair trial, freedom from torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the rights to health, education and an adequate standard of living. 

A person’s ability to enjoy their human rights depends on other people respecting those rights. This means that human rights involve responsibility and duties towards other people and the community. Individuals have a responsibility to ensure that they exercise their rights with consideration for the rights of others. For example, when someone uses their right to freedom of speech, they should do so without interfering with someone else’s right to privacy. Governments have a particular responsibility to ensure that people are able to enjoy their rights. They are required to establish and maintain laws and services that enable people to enjoy a life in which their rights are respected and protected.

In the decades since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, human rights have become more recognised and more guaranteed across the globe. It has since served as the foundation for an expanding system of human rights protection that today focuses also on vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and migrants as they it is mostly the minority groups which gets affected with being discriminated and persecuted with their human rights being snatched from them. Hence this day makes people and governments across the world to reaffirm their position and strictly follow guidelines to protect the human rights of every individual in their respective authorities. 

However, the promise of the UDHR, of dignity and equality in rights, has been under a sustained assault in recent years. As the world faces challenges new and ongoing – pandemics, conflicts, exploding inequalities, morally bankrupt global financial system, racism, climate change – the values, and rights enshrined in the UDHR provide guideposts for our collective actions that do not leave anyone behind. Hence it is very important to take action now and protect the human rights from being violated anywhere else around the world for the betterment, peace and security of our world. So this day urges action towards tackling these issues.  

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Human Rights Day Celebrations: 

The day is normally marked both by high-level political conferences and meetings and by cultural events and exhibitions dealing with human rights issues. Besides, it is traditionally on 10 December that the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded.

Many governmental and non-governmental organizations active in the human rights field also schedule special events to commemorate the day, as do many civil and social-cause organisations. This is done to make the general public aware about the importance of human rights. 

Human Rights Day has also served as the occasion for protests and other demonstrations to take place on this day for gaining attention in support of human rights, especially in countries that have frequently been beset by allegations of human rights violations.  

Human Rights Day Theme: 

The theme of Human Rights Day 2022 is “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All”. 

Through this theme the UDHR highlighted the “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” 

The hope is to increase knowledge of the UDHR as a foundational blueprint for taking concrete actions to stand up for human rights and tackle pressing global issues today. 

Most Searched FAQs on Human Rights Day: 

1. When is Human Rights Day celebrated? 

Human Rights Day is annually celebrated on 10th December. 

2. What are the basic human rights? 

Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination. 

3. What is the theme of Human Rights Day 2022? 

The theme of Human Rights Day 2022 is “Dignity, Freedom and Justice for All”. 

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