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“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
Eleanor Roosevelt’s leading role as Chairperson of the drafting committee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been well documented.
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948. A milestone document proclaiming the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world.
2019 Theme: Youth Standing Up for Human Rights
After a year marked by the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which culminated on 20 November, 2019, our plan is to capitalise on the current momentum and spotlight the leadership role of youth in collective movements as a source of inspiration for a better future.
Under our universal call to action “Stand Up for Human rights,” we aim to celebrate the potential of youth as constructive agents of change, amplify their voices, and engage a broad range of global audiences in the promotion and protection of rights. The campaign, led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 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.
- Youth participation is essential to achieve sustainable development for all.
Participation in public life is a fundamental principle of human rights. Young people are seeking to participate in all decisions that have a direct and indirect impact upon their wellbeing. They need to be heard to inform more effective decision-making and achieve sustainable development for all.
- Youth can play a crucial role in positive change.
Young people have always been major drivers of political, economic and social transformation. They are at the forefront of grassroots mobilizations for positive change and bring fresh ideas and solutions for a better world.
- Empowering youth to better know and claim their rights will generate benefits globally.
Young people are often marginalized and encounter difficulties in accessing and enjoying their rights because of their age. Upholding their rights and empowering them to better know and claim them will generate benefits globally.
Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals
Human rights are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as in the absence of human dignity we cannot drive sustainable development. Human Rights are driven by progress on all SDGs, and the SDGs are driven by advancements on human rights. Find out how UN agencies strive to put human rights at the centre of their work.
Never too young to change the world
- Youth participation is essential to achieve sustainable development for all
- Youth can play a crucial role in positive change
- Empowering youth to better know and claim their rights will generate benefits globally
- Human rights are relevant to all of us, every day
- Our shared humanity is rooted in these universal values
- Equality, justice and freedom prevent violence and sustain peace
- Whenever and wherever humanity’s values are abandoned, we all are at greater risk
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all
- We need to stand up for our rights and those of others
Welcome to the illustrated version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Illustrations by Yacine Ait Kaci (YAK)
This illustrated edition of the UDHR was created and designed in a partnership between the artist Yacine Ait Kaci (YAK) creator of Elyx, the United Nations Regional information Centre (UNRIC), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Regional Office for Europe (OHCHR).
This illustrated edition of the UDHR may be reproduced and/or translated in whole or in part without prior permission provided that it be distributed at no cost (free distribution). Publishers are required to remove the United Nations emblem from their edition and include proper credits. Translations must bear the following disclaimer: “The present work is an unofficial translation for which the publisher accepts full responsibility.”
All requests to sell excerpts, photocopies, reprints, translations of this illustrated edition of the UDHR should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The drawings by YAK included in this illustrated edition of the UDHR are protected by copyright and can only be reproduced to illustrate the text of the UDHR.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains as relevant today as it was on the day in 1948 that it was proclaimed and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The extraordinary vision and resolve of the drafters produced a document that, for the first time, articulated the rights and freedoms to which every human being is equally and inalienably entitled.
Now available in more than 360 languages, the Declaration is the most translated document in the world — a testament to its global nature and reach. It has become a yardstick by which we measure right and wrong. It provides a foundation for a just and decent future for all, and has given people everywhere a powerful tool in the fight against oppression, impunity and affronts to human dignity.
The commitment of the United Nations to human rights stems from the Organization’s founding Charter. The international community has a duty to uphold and defend these rights. Let us ensure that those people who most need their rights protected are made aware that this Declaration exists — and that it exists for them. Let us each do our part to make these universal rights a living reality for every man, woman and child, everywhere.
In perhaps the most resonant and beautiful words of any international agreement, “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. The commitments made by all States in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are in themselves a mighty achievement, discrediting the tyranny, discrimination and contempt for human beings that have marked human history.
The Universal Declaration promises to all the economic, social, political, cultural and civic rights that underpin a life free from want and fear. They are not a reward for good behaviour. They are not country-specific, or particular to a certain era or social group. They are the inalienable entitlements of all people, at all times, and in all places — people of every colour, from every race and ethnic group; whether or not they are disabled; citizens or migrants; no matter their sex, their class, their caste, their creed, their age or sexual orientation.
Human rights abuses did not end when the Universal Declaration was adopted. But since then, countless people have gained greater freedom. Violations have been prevented; independence and autonomy have been attained. Many people – though not all – have been able to secure freedom from torture, unjustified imprisonment, summary execution, enforced disappearance, persecution and unjust discrimination, as well as fair access to education, economic opportunities, and adequate resources and health-care. They have obtained justice for wrongs, and national and international protection for their rights, through the strong architecture of the international human rights legal system.
The power of the Universal Declaration is the power of ideas to change the world. It inspires us to continue working to ensure that all people can gain freedom, equality and dignity. One vital aspect of this task is to empower people to demand what should be guaranteed: their human rights.
This booklet constitutes a modest but significant contribution to that work.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Whereas recognition 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,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people, Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations, Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge.
The General Assembly proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.