Celebrating 75 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
10 December 2023 marks the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)—a landmark occasion deeply resonant with the principles championed by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). The UNPO is committed not only to promoting the rights peoples and nations around the world, but to empowering the voices of those whose rights are not respected. For 33 years, the UNPO has been contributing to the broader mission of upholding human rights for all by addressing the concerns of those often marginalized and overlooked. Our commitment to this cause remains unwavering, at a time where Human Rights are at stake more than ever.
Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) emerged in the aftermath of World War II. This period witnessed the horrors of genocide and the collective yearning for a world founded on respect for the inherent rights and dignity of every individual. The UDHR is a groundbreaking international document that proclaims the inalienable rights to which every individual is entitled, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, or social status. It encompasses a broad spectrum of rights, including the right to life, liberty, security, freedom of expression, and work and education. The declaration set forth a vision for a world in which dignity and justice would prevail, serving as a foundation for subsequent international human rights treaties.
The UDHR's importance lies in its articulation of fundamental rights and its ability to inspire change. It has played a pivotal role in shaping national and international legislation, influencing the development of human rights institutions, and serving as a reference point for advocates and activists worldwide. The declaration is a reminder that protecting and promoting human rights are not just lofty ideals but essential principles underpinning a just and humane global society.
As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the UDHR, it is fitting to acknowledge the crucial work of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). The UNPO is committed to promoting the rights of peoples and nations around the work, contributing to the broader mission of upholding human rights for all through addressing the concerns of those often marginalized and overlooked.
Whilst this milestone is cause for celebration, it must be accompanied by reflection. At present, victims of human rights abuses are confronted with a global stage where democracies are a minority and democratic states are shifting their priorities away from human rights, in favor of development. Moreover, blatant large-scale human rights violations are often met with apathy or ignorance; witnessed in Nagorno-Karabakh, China, Laos, Vietnam, Iran, Pakistan, Laos, US, Ghana, Mauritania, Russia, … Our members and allies are the testimony and first victims over the world. These challenges are further compounded by the shrinking space afforded to civil society organisations and human rights defenders within international bodies, and an increase in unchecked transnational repression (most frequently carried out by China, Russia, and Iran). To ensure the promotion of democracy and the preservation of the Liberal World Order, democratic States and their civil societies must remain vigilant and committed to the universal application of human rights and the right to self-determination for peoples.
In celebrating this milestone, we honor the visionaries who crafted the declaration and rededicate ourselves to the ongoing work of ensuring that its principles are upheld for generations to come. Pertinent to ensuring cohesive and inclusive societies is Article I of the Charter of the United Nations: “All peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”. The right to self-determination is a prerequesite for sustainable international peace and the fundamental base on which all other human rights rest. Mutual trust and dialogue must begin with communities being imbued with the inherent right to define what happens to them.