ePub | The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70: Human Rights Day 10 December – United Nations

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 Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70
Let’s stand up for equality, justice and human dignity

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 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. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.

Drafted by representatives of diverse legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration sets out universal values and a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. It establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person. Thanks to the Declaration, and States’ commitments to its principles, the dignity of millions has been uplifted and the foundation for a more just world has been laid. While its promise is yet to be fully realized, the very fact that it has stood the test of time is testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice and human dignity.

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.


  • 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.
  • We need to stand up for our rights and those of others.

Source: http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/
Date accessed: 12 October 2018

Overcrowding in India’s prisons (Screenshot, p. 6), accessed 7 January 2020
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India, a union of states, is a Sovereign, Secular, Democratic Republic with a Parliamentary system of Government| Learn more >>

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When law enforcement agencies become perpetrators of violence, it becomes an ominous case of abuse of authority

Custodial deaths in India are a cold-blooded play of power and class, which cannot be viewed in isolation. When law enforcement agencies become perpetrators of violence, it becomes an ominous case of abuse of authority, which is antithetical to the rule of law-based system of democratic governance where human rights rule supreme. Custodial deaths are excesses by police force on citizens.

Types of torture include […]. Heads of all national commissions, such as, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Minorities and National Commission for Women are represented on the board of NHRC to strengthen and ensure standards of human rights of all strata of people.

Despite that there is no improvement in human rights of citizens, pointing out public institutions, though existing on paper with all lofty ideals as defenders of human rights of the people, are ineffective or defunct for all practical purposes.

UN Convention Against Tortures seeks to prevent all types of tortures and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment around the world. Currently, the Convention is under review to make it more effective. Except seven countries that include India, all UN member nations have ratified the UN Convention Against Tortures.

At present, India has 1,350 prisons with a rated full capacity of 4,03,739 prisoners. All jails are bursting with overcrowding and degrading inhuman conditions, so much for standards of human rights of prisoners in terms of the Constitution of India.

The Constitution envisioned prisons as centres of reforms, which is not happening.

Source: “Time to tame torturers” by MY Siddiqui (tehelka.com, 29 October 2020)
URL: http://tehelka.com/time-to-tame-torturers/
Date visited: 7 January 2020

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

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