In 1948, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Two years later, the Assembly established 10 December as International Human Rights Day.
This year, the theme for the day is ‘Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.’ and commemorates the 50th anniversary of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). It was the first time in history that the basic rights were laid out globally.
On 16 December 1966, the Assembly adopted ICESCR, a treaty that commits to work toward economic, social and cultural rights for all people. It also encompasses the right to health, the right to education and the right to an adequate standard of living.
That same day, the assembly also adopted the ICCPR, which commits signing parties to respect civil and political rights, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and a fair trial.
To promote and raise awareness of the two Covenants on their 50th anniversary, the UN is promoting a year-long “Our rights. Our freedoms. Always.” campaign based on the theme of rights and freedoms. This includes freedom of speech, freedom of worship and freedom from fear.
To commemorate the introduction of these two significant international treaties, the UN in Australia hosted a poster competition for school students. Focused on the core values of the two Covenants and the International Bill of Human Rights, the poster competition attracted a range of innovative submissions in both the primary and secondary school student divisions.
If you would like to explore some of the ways to commemorate International Human Rights day in your child care centre, check out some of the ideas at the Australian Human Rights Commission website. There is even a special Convention on the Rights of the Child that provides a framework for the world on the basic needs of children.