Celebrating International Human Rights Day, 2019


“[R]ecognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…”

These words, from the first sentence of the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, embody the spirit of Human Rights Day. This day, observed internationally each year on December 10th, commemorates the day that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in Paris in 1948. This historic document was drafted by representatives from around the world as an international standard towards which all societies should strive, setting forth basic civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights for all humans. Though the Declaration is not legally binding, it prompted numerous international treaties and laws that protect fundamental human rights. To learn more about the UDHR, including access to its over 500 translations, see the UN’s webpage on UDHR research guides and resources.

The 2019 Human Rights Day theme is “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights,” which is “designed to encourage, galvanise, and showcase how youth all over the world stand up for rights and against racism, hate speech, bullying, discrimination, and climate change, to name a few.” This year’s focus on youth is part of the UN’s larger Stand Up For Human Rights campaign (#Standup4humanrights on social media). The campaign website highlights events, stories, and opportunities for action as well as brief videos by various Human Rights Champions, including UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.    

Jenkins has a handful of resources on human rights and humanitarian law. International Human Rights in a Nutshell is available both in print and via the member database West Academic Digital Library. The International Human Rights Law Sourcebook, the International Humanitarian Law (Law of Armed Conflict) Sourcebook, the Corporate Responsibility for Human Rights Impacts: New Expectations and Paradigms, and the Business, Human Rights, and Sustainability Sourcebook are all available in print, among others in our collection.   

Member databases like HeinOnline and ProQuest Congressional have vast amounts of material regarding human rights, including law journal articles, classic legal treatises, and many types of U.S. Congressional documents. The Library of Congress also links to a number of U.S. Executive Branch documents regarding Human Rights Day, such as Presidential Proclamations.

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