India Celebrates Human Rights Day 2018

This Human Rights Day assumes special significance for NHRC India, as it is celebrating 25 years of its existence.

4 min read
“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. [...] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

The world is celebrating Human Rights Day today, 10 December.

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December as it was on this day that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 in Paris.

The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights Turns 70

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that lists the rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, sex, religion, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.

The Declaration, which is available in more than 500 languages, sets out universal values and a common standard of achievement for peoples across nations.

The message in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is simple yet empowering: We need to stand up for equality, justice and human dignity.

You can read the the illustrated version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here.

On the occasion of Human Rights Day, there will be a panel discussion at the UN Headquarters on the relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the backdrop of today’s human rights issues including inequality, climate change and new technologies. You can watch the live coverage of the event on

Human Rights Day Celebrations in India

NHRC India was set up on 12 October 1993
The National Human Rights Commission, India was set up on 12 October 1993, for better promotion and protection of human rights of every person in the country.

This Human Rights Day assumes special significance for the NHRC India, as it is celebrating 25 years of its existence. The Commission has organised a series of events like human rights walk, human rights street theatre festival, human rights slogans and NHRC logo designing competitions, a human rights Pledge among others, to mark its silver jubilee.

The Commission has organided an event in New Delhi to celebrate Human Rights Day, where Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and NHRC Chairperson Justice HL Dattu will address the gathering.

“It is in commemoration of this Universal Declaration that a Day is dedicated to remind people to stand up for their and others’ rights. This Human Rights Day assumes special significance for the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), India as it is celebrating 25 years of its existence promoting and protecting human rights in the country, Justice HL Dattu, Chairperson, NHRC, said on the eve of Human Rights Day.

“The protection of human rights is a Constitutional obligation of the State as well as the duty of a citizen, which we all must value and be guided by in our lives for a just, happy and prosperous nation. I am confident that by imbibing respect for human rights as a way of life, we can actualize a fundamental change in our collective efforts to eradicate the scourge of poverty, ignorance, prejudices, and discrimination based on sex, caste, religion, disability and other forms, within our society.”
Justice HL Dattu, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission

Besides the release of some NHRC publications on the occasion, the winners of NHRC Mahatma Gandhi Biennial Awards for original works of writing in Hindi on human rights related issues will be honoured on the occasion. This will be followed by a cultural programme. You can watch the live telecast of the proceedings on Doordarshan.

The paintings by children on different themes of human rights will be displayed at an exhibition at the venue of the function, which will also be showcasing the journey of the Commission through photographs of its various events and activities towards protection and promotion of human rights since the last Human Rights Day.

Vigilante violence aimed at religious minorities, marginalised communities, and critics of the government became an increasing threat in India in 2017, according to Human Rights Watch, an independent organisation based in New York, that works as part of a larger international movement to uphold human dignity and advance the cause of human rights for all.

“Supreme Court rulings in 2017 strengthened fundamental rights, equal rights for women, and accountability for security force violations. However, security forces continue to commit arbitrary arrests, torture, and extrajudicial killings with impunity. New laws and policies aimed at justice for sexual violence survivors have not ended barriers to reporting such crimes. Foreign funding regulations are used to target nongovernmental organizations critical of the government,” the HRW report said.

(With inputs from United Nations, National Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Watch.)

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