A Path to Unity: Celebrating December Holidays and Human Rights for a More Inclusive Year-Ender 

Thanksgiving has passed, and there’s another celebration worth highlighting: Human Rights Day.

This resource will discuss this monumental day and how it synergizes with holiday celebrations. Through this article, we hope you embrace various holidays that can be a powerful platform for promoting understanding and respect.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 

The international community commemorates Human Rights Day every year on December 10. In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This helps protect human rights, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, disability, and other statuses.¹ Here are the 30 articles listed in the UDHR:

  1. All human beings are born free and equal.  
  1. Everyone is equal regardless of race, color, sex, language, religion, politics, or where they are born. 
  1. Everyone has the right to life and to live in freedom and safety.  
  1. Everyone has the right to be free from slavery.  
  1. Everyone has the right to be free from torture. 
  1. Everyone has the right to be recognized before the law.  
  1. We are all equal before the law.  
  1. Everyone has the right to seek justice if their rights are violated.  
  1. Everyone has the right to freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile.  
  1. Everyone has the right to a fair trial. 
  1. Everyone has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.  
  1. Everyone has the right to privacy and freedom from attacks on their reputation.  
  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and to be free to leave and return to their own country. 
  1. Everyone has the right to seek asylum from persecution.  
  1. Everyone has the right to a nationality.  
  1. Everyone has the right to marry and to have a family.  
  1. Everyone has the right to own property. 
  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.  
  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.  
  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.  
  1. Everyone has the right to take part in government and to have equal access to public service.  
  1. Everyone has the right to social security.  
  1. Everyone has the right to work, equal pay, protection against unemployment, and the right to form and join trade unions. 
  1. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure.  
  1. Everyone has the right to a decent standard of living, including food, clothing, housing, medical care, and social services. 
  1. Everyone has the right to education.  
  1. Everyone has the right to participate in and enjoy culture, art, and science. 
  1. Everyone has the right to a social and international order where the rights in this Declaration can be fully realized.  
  1. We have a duty to other people, and we should protect their rights and freedoms.  
  1. Nobody can take away these freedoms and rights from us.  

Human Rights Day: An Impactful Day of Celebration This December 

The theme for the 75th anniversary this 2023 is “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All.”² Celebrating Human Rights Day is important, and here is why we celebrate it every year:

To Raise Awareness

Every human being has their personal rights that need to be protected. This serves as an opportunity to educate people about their rights and those around them, creating a supportive and respectful environment for everyone.

To Promote Equality

It helps promote the idea that everyone is equal and should be treated with dignity and respect. We can take this time to celebrate diversity and recognize contributions from different walks of life.

To Advocate for Change

Many around the world are still suffering. By advocating for our rights, we establish awareness against various forms of abuse and demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.

To Honor Human Rights Defenders

Human Rights Day helps honor the works of those who defended people’s rights in the past. Some people may have risked their lives to protect their rights and everyone around them. On this day, we recognize their courage and stand with them as we look into a brighter future that these brave individuals once sparked.

Emphasizing Human Rights: Activities to Enjoy This Season 

This holiday season, remember the people around you by celebrating the beauty of our humanity and honoring our rights. Here are some activities you can take part in at work:

1. Set up a free expression wall for the whole organization.

For this activity, you can set up a giant piece of paper or canvas against a massive wall and encourage employees to write about what human rights mean to them. This can allow them to bring forward their ideas, concerns, and feelings about their situation.

Encourage employees to read what their peers have written to help them understand what others think and what their lived experiences are.

2. Start a social media campaign.

You can encourage your employees to talk about their struggles and how they sought justice.

You may ask them to choose a format they will be comfortable sharing their story through, such as Facebook Live, social media posts, stories, or email newsletters. Remember to use related hashtags to help your posts appear on the feeds of interested people. You can use hashtags like #HumanRightsDay, #StandUp4HumanRights, or #UDHR75.

3. Arrange a networking event to boost connections.

This is to bring people from different organizations closer. This event allows people to share ideas and collaborate on initiatives. It would be best to choose a venue that’s easily accessible to the people you’ll invite to ensure most of them can attend.

Prepare activities encouraging attendees to connect, like icebreakers, group discussions, and workshops. You can invite speakers to share their experiences and insights on human rights issues.

You can encourage them to connect by providing opportunities to communicate by setting up an area where attendees can exchange business cards and contact information.

4. Host human rights conferences.

If you wish to educate your employees about the issues we face today, you may organize human rights conferences where they can gain access to various topics and discussions. Here are some subjects you may discuss:

5. Organize an activism summit.

Statista surveyed 3,227 Gen Z respondents about which social issues they consider important.³ Here are a few related to human rights that were highlighted:

  • 88% guaranteeing quality education for every child
  • 86% preserving individual rights and freedoms
  • 85% ensuring greater access to healthcare
  • 78% addressing systemic racism
  • 74% safeguarding the rights of vulnerable populations

Help your employees put their values into action by organizing an activism summit. You can invite leading activists to discuss their advocacies and inspire your members. Encourage discussions to teach your employees to speak up about what is important to them and help them develop actionable plans.

Humanity deserves celebration this Human Rights Day 

The UDHR started a global initiative, and we can help the progress continue through commemorations and education.

This Human Rights Day and holiday season, take this time to talk to your colleagues and loved ones about their rights and how to protect them and others.

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References 

1. “Title.” Amnesty International, www.amnesty.org/universal-declaration-of-human-rights. 21 Nov. 2023.

2. “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Turns 75.” United Nations, 2023, www.ohchr.org/en/get-involved/campaign/udhr-75.

3. “Thinking about the Kind of America in Which You Want to Live, How Important Are the following Issues to You Right Now?” Statista, 13 Oct. 2023, www.statista.com/gen-z-perspective-on-social-issues-us.