On December 10th, 1948, one of the first major achievements of the United Nations was the adoption of a bill called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was the first global affirmation of human rights in world history. Since 1950, every December 10th now honors that historic moment with the annual celebration of International Human Rights Day, a day where people of all nationalities, creeds, and backgrounds can come together to recognize our basic human rights as well as what progress can still be made today.
This was the first time that nations came together to set a global standard to publicly proclaim that all humans across the world deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, and fairness. To do this, the United Nations established a set of numerous guidelines. Among those outlined in the document are the right to be treated equally (regardless of race or cultural background); the right to not be subject to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile; the right to have a family; and the right to freely leave and return to own’s country.
Here are some ways to celebrate International Human Rights Day near you:
Volunteer for MIRA
The best way to celebrate human rights is to fight for those who have been underrepresented, and refugees are one of the most persecuted groups in the world. They’re individuals and families stranded from their homes, struggling to find new work and new living situations, while facing constant prejudice and false accusations along the way. In New England, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) is devoted to helping the refugee population with English learning services, legal assistance, voting assistance, and more.
Support the Bhutanese Refugee Population of New Hampshire
Bhutan’s dark history of ethnic cleansing created a massive refugee population, many of whom have found a new home in New Hampshire. This December 10th, the Bhutanese community of Concord will celebrate Human Rights Day with “Momo Making,” a tasting and demonstration event where participants can learn how to make momos, a form of steamed dumpling.
Celebrate in Boston with the Arts
On December 10th, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will be holding a “Celebration of Art and Human Rights Toward Healing.” This celebration will feature presentations, art exhibits, and the official premiere of Everything is Fine Here, a film on women’s rights in Iran.
Celebrate with Family and Friends
Article 16 of the Declaration entitles all individuals to marry and create families—no matter who they are, what religion they practice, or where they come from. So bring your family and friends together for dinner. Support and help those who are often underrepresented, and work with everyone around you to build a more equal future.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights didn’t create world peace, but it did institute a set of universal rights that every nation, family, and person should strive to follow in order to create a better future for everyone.