Alberta Human Rights Information Service December 8, 2017


Human Rights Day is December 10

December 10, 2017 marks the United Nations' signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. For the first time in history, the Declaration set out fundamental human rights to be universally protected and provided a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations.


This year, the United Nations (UN) has designated the 2017 theme as “70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” This theme highlights the importance of this foundational document in upholding the principles of equality, justice and human dignity.

From the UN’s website

This year, Human Rights Day kicks off a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed 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. …

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all. The principles enshrined in the Declaration are as relevant today as they were in 1948. We need to stand up for our own rights and those of others. We can take action in our own daily lives, to uphold the rights that protect us all and thereby promote the kinship of all human beings.

This foundational document outlines the many freedoms to which we are all entitled, including that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” The Declaration has inspired the development of other instruments and institutions for human rights protection, including Alberta’s own human rights legislation and commission.

Canada’s own John Humphrey, who was the Director of the UN Division of Human Rights at the time, was integral in the development of the Declaration, gathering and analyzing background documents that formed the basis for subsequent debates and considerations of the Commission on Human Rights and the Drafting Committee as they drafted the Declaration.

Taking Action

This year’s campaign encourages all people to stand up for equality, justice and human dignity through their #StandUp4HumanRights campaign, which suggests that:

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all;
  • 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; and
  • We need to stand up for our rights and those of others.

Read more about this campaign and how you can participate.

You can read a Message from William D. McFetridge, Q.C., Acting Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission.


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Our vision is a vibrant and inclusive Alberta where the rich diversity of people is celebrated and respected, and where everyone has the opportunity to fully participate in society, free from discrimination.