11 December 2008


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the world’s most translated document and arguably one of the most important documents ever created. Human Rights Day is celebrated each year on December 10th on the anniversary of its signing. This years celebration marked the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of this first clear formal statement of the fundamental rights to which all people are entitled at all times.

Despite the fact that every nation on earth has pledged to uphold the rights set out in the UDHR it is clear that there is often a vast gap between the statement of principles set out there and the reality experienced by many people around the world.

Governments often continue to give greater priority to protecting their sovereignty and cultural and political identity than to protecting and enhancing individual human rights. Under the guise of “national security” states continue to threaten the enjoyment of human rights such as those relating to freedom of the press, detention without charge, immigration and the right to asylum.

Human Rights for the ‘common man’ have only been widely recognized and attained after centuries of struggle. All of us have a responsibility to know our rights and to work to ensure that human rights are known, safeguarded and extended to all people everywhere.

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