The 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

What rights belong to everyone, everywhere in the world? What freedoms are we entitled to as members of the human race, regardless of where we happen to be born?

Today is International Human Rights Day.  Every year on December 10th the world celebrates the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly.

Eleanor Roosevelt holds a copy of the UDHR.

Eleanor Roosevelt holds a copy of the UDHR.

 In 1948 a diverse coalition of delegates from every region of the globe drafted this groundbreaking document.  For the very first time a global standard of civil, economic, political, and social rights were expressly set down in order to uphold the equal dignity of every human being.  While not a binding document in terms of domestic law, it has unquestionably led to the advancement of universal rights in the seventy years since its adoption. Available in hundreds of languages, it is the most translated document in the world.

The UDHR is linked to FDR Four Freedoms State Park in multiple ways. The preamble of the UDHR deliberately borrowed the language of Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms address, proclaiming “the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want” as “the highest aspiration of the common people.” Additionally, Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the drafting committee and was integral in securing its adoption by 48 states. Finally, all of our programming is designed to inspire each generation to define and defend essential human freedoms within a 21st century context.

Seventy years later, despite much progress, more work needs to be done. We hope you will join us today in this annual opportunity to think beyond the borders of nation-states, and consider ways you can take action to help advance the universal attainment of fundamental rights and freedoms that belong to everyone, everywhere in the world.

 

To read the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, click here.