We live by the principle that all people are born free and equal with inherent human rights. This principle, the fruit of the vision and humility of those before us, was preserved 75 years ago today by the UN General Assembly when it adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR, which is now subscribed to by almost every country in the world, enumerates human rights that must be protected worldwide and establishes a common standard of freedom and dignity for all people in all countries.
As we look back on the first 75 years of the UDHR, we recognize what we have achieved during this time, but we also know that there is still much work to be done. Often, the authorities fail to protect or, worse, trample on human rights and fundamental freedoms, often in the name of security or staying in power. Whether by unjustly detaining and imprisoning journalists and dissidents, restricting a person’s freedom of religion or belief, or committing atrocities and acts of genocide, human rights violations and abuses undermine the progress made in upholding the UDHR. In the face of these actions, we must push for greater protection of human rights and promote accountability whenever we notice violations or abuses of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
On its 75th anniversary, the UDHR should continue to be our guide as we strive to create the world we want to live in. Its message is as important today as it was 75 years ago: human rights belong to everyone, everywhere.
For the original text, see Human Rights Day, United States Department of State
This translation is provided as a courtesy, and only the original English source should be considered reliable.