The Human Rights Logo combines the silhouette of a hand with that of a bird, and a white thumb grabbing the bird. It is intended as a peaceful contribution towards strengthening human rights and as such is meant to be used across cultural and language borders. The logo is now available to everyone at no cost as an open source product. It is free from rights and can be used worldwide by everyone without paying fees or obtaining licenses. The logo was created by Predrag Stakić from Serbia.
Human Rights Day is the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The formal inception of Human Rights Day dates from 1950, after the Assembly passed resolution 423(V) inviting all States and interested organizations to adopt 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day. The popularity of the day can be shown by the fact that the commemorative Human Rights Day stamp issued by the United Nations Postal Administration in 1952, received approximately 200,000 advance orders.
When the General Assembly adopted the Declaration, with 48 states in favor and eight abstentions, it was proclaimed as a "common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations", towards which individuals and societies should "strive by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance". The measure was received by both advocates and critics alike as "being more declarative than legislative, more suggestive than binding.
Although the Declaration with its broad range of political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights is not a binding document, it inspired more than 60 human rights instruments which together constitute an international standard of human rights. Today the general consent of all United Nations Member States on the basic Human Rights laid down in the Declaration makes it even stronger and emphasizes the relevance of Human Rights in our daily lives.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, as the main United Nations rights official and his Office plays a major role in coordinating efforts for the yearly observation of Human Rights Day:
Today, poverty prevails as the gravest human rights challenge in the world. Combating poverty, deprivation and exclusion is not a matter of charity, and it does not depend on how rich a country is. By tackling poverty as a matter of human rights obligation, the world will have a better chance of abolishing this scourge in our lifetime... Poverty eradication is an achievable goal.
The 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights occurred on 10 December 2008, and the UN Secretary-General launched a year-long campaign leading up to this anniversary. Because the UDHR holds the world record as the most translated document (except for the Bible), organizations around the globe used the year to focus on helping people everywhere learn about their rights.
The underlying structure of the Universal Declaration was influenced by the Code Napoléon, including a preamble and introductory general principles. Its final structure took form in the second draft prepared by French jurist René Cassin, who worked on the initial draft prepared by Canadian legal scholar John Peters Humphrey.
The Declaration consists of the following:
· The preamble sets out the historical and social causes that led to the necessity of drafting the Declaration.
· Articles 1–2 establish the basic concepts of dignity, liberty, and equality.
· Articles 6–11 refer to the fundamental legality of human rights with specific remedies cited for their defence when violated.
· Articles 18–21 sanction the so-called "constitutional liberties" and spiritual, public, and political freedoms, such as freedom of thought, opinion, expression, religion and conscience, word, peaceful association of the individual, and receiving and imparting information and ideas through any media.
· Articles 22–27 sanction an individual's economic, social and cultural rights, including healthcare. It upholds an expansive right to a standard of living, provides for additional accommodations in case of physical debilitation or disability, and makes special mention of care given to those in motherhood or childhood.
· Articles 28–30 establish the general means of exercising these rights, the areas in which the rights of the individual cannot be applied, the duty of the individual to society, and the prohibition of the use of rights in contravention of the purposes of the United Nations Organisation.
Articles 1 and 2—with their principles of dignity, liberty, equality and brotherhood—served as the foundation blocks. The seven paragraphs of the preamble, setting out the reasons for the Declaration, represent the steps leading up to the temple. The main body of the Declaration forms the four columns. The first column (articles 3-11) constitutes rights of the individual, such as the right to life and the prohibition of slavery. The second column (articles 12-17) constitutes the rights of the individual in civil and political society. The third column (articles 18-21) is concerned with spiritual, public and political freedoms such as freedom of religion and freedom of association. The fourth column (articles 22-27) sets out social, economic and cultural rights. Finally, the last three articles provide the pediment which binds the structure together, as they emphasise the mutual duties of every individual to one another and to society.
Eleanor Roosevelt holding the English language version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In its preamble, governments commit themselves and their people to progressive measures that secure the universal and effective recognition and observance of the human rights set out in the Declaration. Eleanor Roosevelt supported the adoption of the text as a declaration, rather than as a treaty, because she believed that it would have the same kind of influence on global society as the United States Declaration of Independence had within the United States. Even though it is not legally binding, the Declaration has been incorporated into or influenced most national constitutions since 1948. It has also served as the foundation for a growing number of national laws, international laws, and treaties, as well as for a growing number of regional, subnational, and national institutions protecting and promoting human rights.
On 30 June 2000, member states of the , which represents most of the Muslim world, officially resolved to support the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, an alternative document that says people have "freedom and right to a dignified life in accordance with the Islamic Shari'ah", without any discrimination on grounds of "race, colour, language, sex, religious belief, political affiliation, social status or other considerations". The Cairo Declaration is widely acknowledged to be a response to the UDHR, and uses similar universalist language, albeit derived solely from Islamic jurisprudence.