On December 10, 2023, a historic date for the entire world, a momentous occasion to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a fundamental pillar of justice, equality, and human dignity. Since its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, the UDHR has served as a moral and legal foundation to protect the fundamental rights of every individual, regardless of their race, religion, origin, or social status. It was during the year 2023 that the “Human Rights 75” initiative was launched by the United Nations to enhance the understanding of the universality and indivisibility of human rights, inspiring people to create a movement of shared humanity while empowering them to advocate for their rights. For the International Network of Human Rights Europe (RIDHE), this is also an opportunity to reflect on the progress made so far and the persistent challenges that require ongoing action.
In its 75-year journey, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been a catalyst for positive change in numerous spheres. It has contributed to the abolition of racial segregation, the promotion of gender equality, the recognition of LGBTQI+ rights, and the protection of the rights of people with disabilities. National and international laws have been enacted to ensure the implementation of these rights, while institutions and non-governmental organizations have worked to monitor violations and provide support to victims.
Despite the progress achieved, there is still much work to be done to fully realize the vision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Discrimination, poverty, injustice, and violations of fundamental rights persist in many regions of the world. Armed conflicts, authoritarian regimes, and economic inequalities continue to threaten the dignity and rights of individuals. Moreover, technological advancements have raised new questions concerning the protection of privacy, freedom of expression, and equitable access to information, ushering in a debate about updating the UDHR to include digital rights.
Human rights 75 high-level event – advancing freedom, equality and justice
The United Nations Human Rights has announced the program for the “Human Rights 75” event, to be held in Geneva on December 11 and 12, which includes various sessions reflecting the multi-stakeholder dialogues that have taken place around the world in recent months. The event will provide an opportunity for heads of state to address issues related to peace and security, development, technology, and climate for the next 25 years. Participation will be broad-based, with 14 leaders, including heads of state, government, and foreign ministers. This occasion is the countries’ promise and commitment to co-construct a better future for the world’s citizens.
The aim of the event is also to revive the Declaration’s objectives and generate a rallying around the values that safeguard citizens and advance global change. The Declaration has given life to national, regional, and international human rights organizations, with the aim of protecting the equal and inalienable rights of all, and thus guaranteeing human dignity and individual freedoms.
RIDHE Calls for Ongoing Action
During this commemorative period, it is essential to remember that safeguarding human rights requires consistent commitment from governments, international organizations, civil society, and individuals. People from around the world are encouraged to uphold the values enshrined in the UDHR by demanding reforms, denouncing violations, and supporting initiatives aimed at promoting solidarity, equality, and fairness.
Governments must renew their commitment to human rights by adopting policies that foster inclusion, tolerance, and social justice. International organizations must continue to play a role in coordinating and overseeing the respect for fundamental rights on a global scale.
By adhering to the ideals of the UDHR, we contribute to building a world where every individual can experience dignity, freedom, and equality. While the path may pose challenges, maintaining our allegiance and actions toward human rights remains essential in constructing a just, sustainable, and united future.