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Celebrating International Human Rights Day

By Dr. Sean Preuss, Bryan University Academic Success Manager and IDEA Committee Member

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December celebrations are traditionally focused on important religious holidays and the end of the Gregorian calendar year. However, there is another December holiday that has incredible worldwide significance. On December 10th, Human Rights Day is celebrated. This day not only stands for a very important cause, but it has also spurred noteworthy change.

Following the savage and large-scale persecutions conducted by Nazis during World War II, ensuring that all people had basic rights became an international priority. This priority led to the United Nations General Assembly creating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This document, adopted in 1948, “proclaims the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.” Stated simply, all people have equal rights, including a right to life, health, and education.

Human Rights Day is celebrated in a few ways: cultural events, public meetings, and educational seminars. More importantly, Human Rights Day has been “celebrated” over time by being a prompt for change. The following are a few movements that started on Human Rights Day:

  • In 1979, Taiwanese citizens held a demonstration to push for a change to a democratic government. (In 1996, Taiwanese citizens elected their first president).
  • In 1989, the first of several demonstrations took place in Mongolia that led to the eventual end of communism in the country.
  • In 1996, South African president Nelson Mandela signed a post-apartheid constitution, which was the first permanent document of its kind.

Today, December 10th, we celebrate Human Rights Day. To learn more, please visit the United Nations website:

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