Human Rights Fast Facts

How many of these fast facts about the UDHR and human rights did you know?

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was signed on December 10, 1948 in Paris. Every December 10 is celebrated as Human Rights Day around the world.
  • December 10, 2023, marks the 75th Anniversary of the UDHR.
  • The UDHR consists of one preamble and 30 articles that lay out different rights and freedoms.
  • The declaration is “generally agreed to be the foundation of international human rights law” and has inspired more than 80 international human rights treaties and declarations, according to the UN. These include the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). 
  • It is the most translated document in the world with over 500 translations in different languages. “This project was meant to be a message of unity within diversity – fostering the sense of our common humanity embodied in the UDHR while embracing and valuing our diversity,” said UN Human Rights Officer Elena Ippoliti, who started the translation project. 
  • Former US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was chair of the declaration’s drafting committee, which included members from around the world – a sign of the universality of human rights. Frustrated by the Human Rights Commission’s failed attempts to pass the document, on Dec. 9, 1948, Eleanor Roosevelt gives her famous speech, “On the Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” to remind all the member states what they were working toward. 
  • 48 out of 58 member states voted in favor of the Declaration, none voted against, 8 abstained and 2 did not vote.

A group of Japanese women read the UDHR during a visit to the UN’s interim headquarters, February 1950 (UN)

United Nations General Assembly adopt the UDHR in Paris, December 10, 1948 (CNRS)

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