60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

By | 10 December 2007

For the latest information on the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, please visit the Human Rights Day 2008 website at http://www.un.org/events/humanrights/2008/

On 10 December 2007, Human Rights Day, the Secretary-General launched a year-long campaign in which all parts of the United Nations family take part in the lead up to the 60th birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on Human Rights Day 2008.

The UDHR continues to hold the world record as the most translated document. With more than 360 language versions to help them, UN organizations around the globe will use the year to focus on helping people everywhere to learn about their human rights. The UDHR was the first international recognition that all human beings have fundamental rights and freedoms and it continues to be a living and relevant document today.

From the six UN official languages –Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish— spoken by billions of people, to Pipil, spoken by some 50 people in El Salvador and Honduras, the UDHR holds the Guinness World Record for the most translated document in the world. During the World Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004), a project to have the Declaration translated into as many languages and dialects as possible, was developed by several UN agencies and departments, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), as well as governments, academia and international, regional and grass-roots civil society organizations.

OHCHR received over 360 translations, including one by Ali K. Phiri of Malawi, a teacher with extensive experience in human rights education in prisons, schools and remote communities, who translated the UDHR into Yao, the third most spoken language in the country. Phiri distributed 1,500 booklets containing the UDHR and 500 copies of the Bill of Rights in various villages. Discussions were held with villagers who also learnt about ways to secure their own rights.

The theme of the campaign, “Dignity and justice for all of us,” reinforces the vision of the Declaration as a commitment to universal dignity and justice and not something that should be viewed as a luxury or a wish-list. In addition to the theme, a logo symbolizing theses principles is available to celebrate this anniversary during this one year period. It may be used by all inside and outside the UN system for public information purposes by requesting approval from OHCHR’s Communications Section.

For more information and other materials, please visit UDHR @ 60


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