To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. – Nelson Mandela.
On 10 December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This blueprint of rights is the global standard for fundamental equality and human dignity. Every year the world celebrates Human Rights Day, but this year the aim is not only to celebrate a landmark document but to encourage increased knowledge and understanding of the UDHR. The thirty articles that make up the UDHR set out a broad range of fundamental human rights and freedoms that everyone around the world is entitled to. It guarantees our rights without distinction of nationality, place of residence, gender, ethnic origin, religion, language, or any other status. Under the banner of “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All“, the UN calls for everyone to stand up for human rights and address urgent global issues using the hashtag #StandUp4HumanRights.
Understanding our rights empowers us to challenge those who intend to abuse those rights, whether for ourselves or those unable to speak up themselves. These human rights are the same for all people everywhere – men and women, young and old, rich and poor, regardless of our background, where we live, what we think or what we believe. It is important for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to understand their rights when they arrive in the UK. The UDHR entitles you to have all your rights protected and respected, regardless of your status. Migrant Rights Network has developed an online guide to help you understand your rights and how to assert them.
No one right is more important than another, but some crucial rights embody our society’s fundamental values – fairness, dignity, equality and respect.
The most basic of rights
To ensure a basic level of dignity for everyone, we are entitled to access medicine, food and water, clothes, and shelter. Unfortunately, having an entitlement does not necessarily ensure that access is guaranteed, and there are millions in the UK and the rest of the world who do not have access to the most basic of rights. #StandUp4HumanRights
The right to education
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for one day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for life – Maimonides. The right to education is crucial, particularly in poorer societies as it is a key driver for reducing poverty, fostering economic growth, achieving gender equality, and social development. Education is not the entitlement of some but a right of everyone, everywhere. #StandUp4HumanRights
The right to love who you choose
While some progress has been made on the rights around sexual orientation, there is still a great deal of work to be done in eliminating oppression and abuse around LGBTQ+ rights and the forced marriage of young girls and women. #StandUp4HumanRights
The right to protection from abuse
THE UNDHR was created in an era when the horrors of WWII and the Holocaust were still fresh in people’s minds. However, over seventy years later, the world is still witnessing genocide and the abuse of vulnerable groups. While we are all entitled to protection from abuse, we need to take particular care that the vulnerable or marginalised are protected. #StandUp4HumanRights
The right to freedom of speech and expression
We must have the right to speak freely without the threat of reprisal. We may not always agree with other people’s opinions, but we are all entitled to debate or argue our points of view. The key is to protect the right of all sides to express their opinion respectfully and not censor ideas which do not conform to our thinking. #StandUp4HumanRights
How to get Involved and StandUp4HumanRights
On Human Rights Day, UN Human Rights will launch a year-long campaign to promote and recognise the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR 75), which will be celebrated on 10 December 2023. The year-long campaign will showcase the UDHR by focusing on its legacy, relevance and activism using the slogan, “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All.”
There are many ways for everyone to get involved and support the campaign at home, work, school or on the streets. The UN has partnered with Canva to create a collection of engaging designs to commemorate the significance and enduring relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These visuals will be coming soon and can be personalised and used for sharing with family, friends and your community.
Another way to show support is the Cheerity frame, which allows people to show their support on social media by adding their photo to a UN Human Rights special filter for Human Rights Day and other filters inspired by the UDHR. They can share it using the hashtags #StandUp4HumanRights and #HumanRightsDay, and then we will post it on the campaign wall.
People can also share a UHDR article that resonates with them on social media, or they can download and print Human Rights Day posters to display in their community or school. Source: https://www.ohchr.org/en/get-involved/stories/udhr-75-dignity-freedom-and-justice-all
To read how one person personifies the #StandUp4HumanRights campaign, read Aloysius Ssali story. Aloysius through his organisation the Say It Loud Club, is fighting for the rights of LGBTQ+ refugees coming to the UK.
Article of the Universal Human Declaration of Rights
Article 1 Right to Equality
Article 2 Freedom from Discrimination
Article 3 Right to Life, Liberty, Personal Security
Article 4 Freedom from Slavery
Article 5 Freedom from Torture and Degrading Treatment
Article 6 Right to Recognition as a Person before the Law
Article 7 Right to Equality before the Law
Article 8 Right to Remedy by Competent Tribunal
Article 9 Freedom from Arbitrary Arrest and Exile
Article 10 Right to Fair Public Hearing
Article 11 Right to be Considered Innocent until Proven Guilty
Article 12 Freedom from Interference with Privacy, Family, Home and Correspondence
Article 13 Right to Free Movement in and out of the Country
Article 14 Right to Asylum in other Countries from Persecution
Article 15 Right to a Nationality and the Freedom to Change It
Article 16 Right to Marriage and Family
Article 17 Right to Own Property
Article 18 Freedom of Belief and Religion
Article 19 Freedom of Opinion and Information
Article 20 Right of Peaceful Assembly and Association
Article 21 Right to Participate in Government and in Free Elections
Article 22 Right to Social Security
Article 23 Right to Desirable Work and to Join Trade Unions
Article 24 Right to Rest and Leisure
Article 25 Right to Adequate Living Standard
Article 26 Right to Education
Article 27 Right to Participate in the Cultural Life of Community
Article 28 Right to a Social Order that Articulates this Document
Article 29 Community Duties Essential to Free and Full Development
Article 30 Freedom from State or Personal Interference in the above Rights
The British Human Rights Act 1998
The UDHR laid the foundation for the human rights protections that we have in the UK today. It influenced the 1998 Human Rights Act, which came into force in the UK in October 2000. It recognised in British Law the European Convention on Human Rights, which had been ratified by the Council of Europe in 1953. The British Human Rights Act 1998 covers all the articles and additional protocols of the European Convention with only minor amendments, but includes the right to life, the right to a fair trial and freedom of expression.