Celebrating Over 70 Years of Human Rights Action

5 Ways UNA-USA is Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Human Rights Day is recognized annually on December 10th, but UNA-USA members have been celebrating human rights all year long. This year is particularly special as the world honors the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

UNA-USA and the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) partnered to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) throughout 2018. Through this partnership, UNA-USA has empowered thousands of Americans across the country to Stand Up for Human Rights. Through advocacy, programming, and community events, our network of chapters confronted some of the most pressing human rights challenges facing their communities, while also spotlighting the progress that has been made.

Here are 5 ways how UNA-USA is celebrating the UDHR’s 70th anniversary in 2018:


1. Taking the Pledge to Stand up for Human Rights

We can all be human rights champions. Now more than ever, we must stand up for basic rights and fundamental freedoms at home and around the world. In partnership with UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), we ask citizens, leaders, and advocates to take this pledge:

  • I will respect your rights regardless of who you are. I will uphold your rights even when I disagree with you.
  • When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone’s rights are undermined, so I will STAND UP.
  • I will raise my voice. I will take action. I will use my rights to stand up for your rights.

You can sign the pledge here.


2. Championing the legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt, former UNA-USA Board Chairwoman and Human Rights Champion

Enacted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. Eleanor Roosevelt, former UNA-USA board chairwoman and trailblazer, chaired the UDHR drafting committee and was integral to its adoption. Eleanor once said:

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.”

This famous quote has served as inspiration for over 20 UNA-USA human rights events around the country. Through UNA-USA’s partnership with the Office of Human Rights, chapters were able to apply for micro-grants to coordinate projects that stood up for human rights in their local community. Some examples of these events were: a traveling human rights photo exhibition in Iowa, a human rights recognition ceremony in the Oklahoma City Statehouse, standing up for the right to housing in California, welcoming refugees to Pittsburgh, and a visit to Ohio by the UN watchdog on the right to water!

Keep this momentum going by Adding your voice to the declaration.


3. The Great Universal Declaration of Human Rights “Road Trip”

Throughout October 2018, UNA-USA chapters around the nation held over 120 events to celebrate the 70th Anniversary. Because human rights apply to everyone and everywhere we took the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on a trip across America.

With the help of our UNA-USA chapters in local communities and on college campuses, we educated diverse audiences on the importance of this historic document that stands as the cornerstone of the international human rights regime. Many of these UN Day events also honored local human rights champions. Scroll through our photo gallery to see where we took the UDHR and consider posting your own pic with #StandUp4HumanRights!


4. Advocating for Human Rights

The anniversary of the UDHR takes place at a pivotal moment for the U.S.-UN relationship, as policymakers on Capitol Hill consider funding cuts that would threaten UN priorities. That’s why we’re rolling up our sleeves to make sure human rights are acknowledged, prioritized, and protected around the world.

In June 2018, 500 UNA-USA champions delivered a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to every single Congressional office on Capitol Hill, sending a powerful and timely message to lawmakers: Now more than ever, we must recommit to protecting human rights at home in the U.S. and around the world. For UN Day, UNA-USA members sent over 800 messages to Capitol Hill, urging representatives in Congress to cosponsor a human rights resolution.


5. Empowering Youth Solutions

Recent polling from the Better World Campaign reveals that advancing human rights is a top priority for young people.  That’s why UNA-USA’s Youth Solutions Summit – taking place on Human Rights Day (December 10th) – will empower American youth to stand up for human rights during the UDHR 70th Anniversary Celebration in Los Angeles, CA. Students attending this event will engage with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Mayor Garcetti by providing local solutions for human rights challenges facing the Los Angeles area. The Youth Solutions Summit will also give students the opportunity to interact with high level public leaders, partners and organizations by showcasing their passion and impact for human rights.