International Human Rights Day
International Human Rights Day is celebrated every December 10 as a way to promote, defend, and remember the basic human rights every person in every country has as a result of being born into this world. The basic document that outlines these rights is known as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as adopted by the United Nations.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights came about as a result of the atrocities of World War II. As the United Nations came into being its charter gave human rights a new international legal status, and the need to codify human rights as a means to prevent similar atrocities took shape. It created a Commission on Human Rights, which spent three years drafting the declaration with the help of such members as Eleanor Roosevelt, John P. Humphrey, Charles Malik and Rene Cassin. The declaration was adopted without dissent on December 10, 1948, and has grown in stature and respect over the years since its adoption as it continues to assert the human dignity and worth of every human being on the planet.
Since its adoption countries around the world have celebrated the anniversary, but it has only been since the 50th anniversary celebrations in 1998 that the holiday has gained in popularity.
Eleanor Roosevelt once asserted that the fate of human rights lies in the hands of everyone in every community. Freethinkers know the importance of this statement. It can often be a challenge for many of them to be given the same rights and opportunities as others in their own communities, much less in the world. They, of all people, understand the importance of keeping human rights the center of focus and attention in the world at large. Celebrating International Human Rights Day is a way to show how everyone, religious or not, is connected in ways that run deeper than the nature of belief.