Every so often a thing comes to pass that is of such astounding importance that we must stand up and recognize it. We must place this thing on the pedestal it deserves, and ensure that the precepts and policies put in place by it are adhered to, appreciated, and spread as far as the human voice will carry. Such is the sort of message sent by Human Rights Day.
History of Human Rights Day
December 10 is Human Rights Day, a United Nations (UN) campaign that calls for people to know and push for their rights no matter where they are in the world.
Human Rights Day was established in 1948. Ever since this auspicious day, it has stood as the first major stride forward in ensuring that the rights of every human across the globe are protected. From the most basic human needs such as food, shelter, and water, all the way up to access to free and uncensored information, such has been the goals and ambitions laid out that day.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was a shout across the world by the leading countries in the world, stating loud and clear that no matter where we live, what we believe, or how we love, we are each individually deserving of the most basic fundamentals of human needs. Every year Human Rights Day marks conferences around the world dedicated to ensuring that these ideals are pursued, and that the basic Human Rights of every person is made a priority in the global theater.
History of Human Rights
Originally, people had rights only because of their membership in a group, such as a family. Then, in 539 BC, Cyrus the Great, after conquering the city of Babylon, did something totally unexpected—he freed all slaves to return home. Moreover, he declared people should choose their own religion. The Cyrus Cylinder, a clay tablet containing his statements, is the first human rights declaration in history.
The idea of human rights spread quickly to India, Greece and eventually Rome. The most important advances since then have included:
1215: The Magna Carta—gave people new rights and made the king subject to the law.
1628: The Petition of Right—set out the rights of the people.
1776: The United States Declaration of Independence—proclaimed the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
1789: The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen—a document of France, stating that all citizens are equal under the law.
1948: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights—the first document listing the 30 rights to which everyone is entitled.
After WWII, when the world witnessed the Holocaust and the murder 6 million Jews, the newly formed United Nations came up with document to ensure basic human rights of any person living in the world would not be revoked or violated.
How to Celebrate Human Rights Day
The best way to celebrate Human Rights Day is to take some time to appreciate the effect that this resolution has had on your world and life. Look around your neighborhood and see the effects on a local scale. That is the charitable works being done to promote the health and well-being of those who are less fortunate.
The next step is to get out there and make a difference, whether it’s simply making a donation to one of the dozens of organizations that work towards this global purpose or organizing a donation drive of your own to help out those organizations fighting the good fight.
Don’t think that your gestures need to be grand. Your act of charity could be as simple as gathering a few needs and necessities and delivering them to homeless and women’s shelters. The need is large, but is made of limitless minor actions that can lead to a world-wide change in quality of life.
To view the declaration in its entirety click here.