Human Rights Day: Notes for IAS Exam

The International Human Rights Day on 10th December annually marks the occasion of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In this article, we will read about the background of Human Rights Day, and some of the notable actions taken in the context of the Civil Services Exam.

Background of Human Rights Day

It was on 10th December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly ratified and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human rights day was officially started on the 4th December in the 1950 meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. In South Africa, the Human Rights Day is celebrated on 21 March, in remembrance of the Sharpeville massacre which occurred as a result of protests against the Apartheid regime.

According to the United Nations, Human rights are inalienable for all human beings, whatever our place of residence, sex, ethnic origin, nationality, colour, language, religion, or any other status. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

Human Rights Day is an important day for the Government of India as India is one of the founding members of the UN as well as an original signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

India also abides by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as benchmarks for human development. Human Rights are the core of the Sustainable Development goals as in the absence of human rights and dignity, no sustainable development is possible. Sustainable development and human rights are interdependent as human rights are dependent on progress and progress, in turn, depends on advancement in human rights. In this context, India strives to be a role model by guaranteeing human rights to all.

Human Rights Day – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

Notable events of Human Rights Day

The below table highlights some of the notable actions that have taken place during Human Rights Day

Notable Action Taken During Human Rights Day

Year Actions
  • International PEN announced the launch of a new campaign to secure the release from prison of “cyber-dissidents” in PR China, Maldives and Vietnam.
  • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the UN’s Special Representative for Human Rights Defenders and the African Union’s Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued a joint communiqué in which they commended the European Union for its recent adoption of a set of guidelines for protecting human rights defenders and urged the world’s other regions to take similar steps in that direction.
  • Several people were detained in China after around 300 people signed an online petition titled Charter 08 for the government to improve human rights in the country. In Beijing, a small protest was broken up that took place outside the foreign ministry.
  • UNYA Australia celebrated Human Rights Day with the write 4 rights campaign, asking young people to contribute a message about human rights by phone or on a website for display in Australian State capital cities.
2011 Following a year of protest in many countries, from Tunisia to Cairo to the Occupy movement, the theme of 2011 recognized the significance of social media and technology in assisting human rights defenders in new ways
2015 The theme for 2015 is “Our Rights, Our Freedoms, Always.”
2016 The theme for 2016 is “Stand up for someone’s rights today!”
2017 The theme for 2017 is “Let’s stand up for equality, justice and human dignity”
2018 The theme for 2018 is “stand up for the human rights”
2019 The Civil Human Rights Front organized a rally in Hong Kong on Sunday, December 8 to mark Human Rights Day two days away. The organizer estimated about 800,000 people took part, while the police had an estimate of 183,000 people. The march started from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay and was the biggest of its kind since the march in mid-August as part of the 2019 Hong Kong protests

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • The fundamental human rights were protected for the first time under UNGA resolution 217 A in Paris
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
  • It is an expression of freedom and rights and not a treaty with legal obligations. But one is expected to follow these ethically
  • Other important rights under this declaration include:
    • Right To Nationality
    • Right against Arbitrary Arrest
    • Prohibition of slavery in any form
    • Right to freedom of Movement and Residence, and many more

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was established in 1993 and is headquartered in Geneva. It is a part of the United Nations Secretariat and a leading UN entity for human rights. 

There are three interconnected pillars of the United Nations including peace and security, human rights and development and UN Human Rights plays a crucial role in safeguarding the same. 

For detailed information about the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), candidates can visit the linked article. 

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

In India, the National Human Rights Commission was established in 1993 under the statute of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. 

The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was introduced in Lok Sabha which seeks to amend the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. The amendments were made to strengthen the Human Rights Institutions of India.

For details about the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) candidates can visit the linked article.

To know more about the latest exam updates, study material and preparation tips, visit BYJU’S.

Frequently Asked Questions on Human Rights Day

Q 1. When in Human Rights Day celebrated?

Ans. The International Human Rights Day is celebrated on December 10.

Q 2. Why is December 10th celebrated as Human Rights Day?

Ans. December 10th is celebrated as Human Rights Day as on this day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Q 3. What are the different human rights?

Ans. Human rights comprise of civil and political rights, social, cultural and economic rights. These include the right to education, right to freedom os expression, right to work and many more.

Q 4. Why is Human Rights Day important?

Ans. Human Rights Day is celebrated to mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to encourage and promote the idea of equal rights and opportunity for all across the world.

To get more topics to visit the UPSC Syllabus page and for more of UPSC-related preparation materials visit the linked articles:

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