Celebrating 70 Years of the UDHR Toolkit

Thanks to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and nations’ commitments to its principles, the dignity of millions has been uplifted, untold human suffering prevented and the foundations for a most just world have been laid.

While its promise is yet to be fulfilled, the very fact that it has stood the test of time is a testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice and human dignity. To highlight what the UDHR means for people in their everyday lives, UN Human Rights is launching a year-long campaign that will culminate on the Declaration’s 70th anniversary on December 10, 2018.

Fast Facts

Rights are inalienable

No one, institution nor individual, should act in any way to destroy the rights enshrined in the UDHR.

Right to education

You have the right to go to school, continue your studies as far as you wish and learn regardless of race, religion or country of origin.

Freedom of Expression

Everyone has the right to think and say what they like and no one should forbid it.

Freedom from arbitrary detention

No one can arrest or detain you arbitrarily, or send you away from your country unjustly.

  • The UDHR is made up of a preamble and 30 articles. (Simplified version)
  • The UDHR is generally agreed to be the foundation of international human rights law.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the U.S., diplomat and activist, chaired the UDHR drafting committee and is recognized as the driving force for the Declaration’s adoption.
  • Human rights vs civil rights: You have human rights simply because you are a human being and civil rights are given to you by a government.

Significance of the 70th Anniversary

The values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are as relevant and timeless today as they were 70 years ago. During this celebration of its adoption, it is important to acknowledge the gap between its promise and its implementation. This is a challenging time for human rights advocates: a time when many human rights norms and standards are under threat, when we are witnessing a rise in xenophobic populism, profiling on racial and religious grounds, attacks on human rights defenders, and pushback against multilateral institutions, including this Council. It is therefore timely to reflect on what “universality” means, 70 years on, and its applicability to today’s challenges…

John Fisher

HRW Geneva’s director, said at the United Nations Human Rights Council in February 2018 about the 70th anniversary of the UDHR. 

Human rights are still at risk all around the world.

Examples include:

“Without Education They Lose Their Future”: Denial of Education to Child Asylum Seekers on the Greek Islands

Greece is denying thousands of asylum-seeking children their right to an education because of a European Union-backed migration policy that traps them on the Aegean islands.

Cambodia: July 29 Elections Not Genuine, Banning Main Opposition Party Makes Vote Meaningless

Cambodia’s fundamentally flawed national elections deny the Cambodian people their internationally protected right to choose their government.

The Deported: Immigrants Uprooted from the Country They Call Home

The United States has obligations to protect basic rights, including the right to family unity and the right to due process. However, these rights are routinely violated within the US immigration and deportation system.

Take Action

Submit an Entry

Submit an entry for the “Picture Human Rights” National Contest based on the Universal Declaration to celebrate its 70th Anniversary. STF has joined HRE USA (a national network of human rights education advocates) to host this competition.

Promote, Engage, Reflect

The UN is calling on everyone to make a difference through promotion, engagement, and reflection:

  • Promote: Raise awareness of what the UDHR means in everyday life and show how it empowers us all.
  • Engage: Join us in expressing your commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.
  • Reflect: Take stock of the state of human rights today and reflect how each of us can stand up for rights, every day.


Read your #RightsOutLoud and add your audio recording to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights Multilingual Video Collection.

Videos and Visuals

UDHR at 70: The History (6:07)
UDHR at 70: Perspective (3:58)

Where Do Human Rights Begin? (0:36)
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Poster

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