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The 70th anniversary of the UN's
Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

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UN General Assembly resolution  217 A (III) adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on  1948-DEC-10.1,2

Jimmy Carter at the Carter Center referred to it as "a breakthrough moment for the human race." He commented:

"For the first time in history, the rights to equality and justice and freedom from slavery and oppression were codified in a single statement, drafted by representatives of different legal and cultural backgrounds from every region of the world. And today, to confirm the degree to which they captured the beliefs and yearnings of all of our planet’s peoples, this declaration remains the most translated document on earth, available in more than 500 languages." 7

Afterwards, the Assembly called upon all its member countries "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories." The latter phrase is a reference to the colonial status of many areas of the world at the time.

The 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration was celebrated on 1998-DEC-10. Amnesty International had collected over 3 million signatures across the world in support of the Declaration. The UN Secretary General formally received the pledge as a tangible statement of the people of the world's commitment to an International agenda of human rights.

UN Decade for Human Rights Education:

The World Conference on Human Rights (1993-JUN-14 to 25) 3 in Vienna, Austria produced a Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 4 which recommended

"... that human rights education, training and public information were essential for the promotion and achievement of stable and harmonious relations among communities and for fostering mutual understanding, tolerance and peace. The Conference recommended that States should strive to eradicate illiteracy and should direct education towards the full development of the human personality and the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It called on all States and institutions to include human rights, humanitarian law, democracy and rule of law as subjects in the curricula of all learning institutions in formal and non-formal settings." 5

Following this suggestion, on 1994-DEC-23, the UN General Assembly, proclaimed the 10 year interval from 1995-JAN-1 to 2004-DEC-31 as the "United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education." 6 The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has developed a plan of action which involves:

bulletAssessing needs and formulating strategies.
bulletBuilding and strengthening human rights education programs at international, regional, national and local level.
bulletDeveloping in a coordinated way materials for human rights education.
bulletStrengthening the role of the mass media.
bulletGlobally disseminating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Plan:

"... focuses on stimulating and supporting national and local activities and initiatives and is built upon the idea of a partnership between Governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, professional associations, individuals and large segments of civil society." 5

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The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. The text of the Universal Declaration is at:
  2. The text is available in other languages at:
  3. Information on the World Conference on Human Rights is at:
  4. Information about the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action is at:
  5. Information on the UN Decade for Human Rights Education is at:
  6. The United Nations General Assembly resolution 49/184 is at:
  7. Jimmy Carter, email from on 2018-DEC-10.

Related topics:

bulletInternational declarations on the rights of sexual minorities

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