It’s sometimes scary to contemplate the true horrors we humans are capable of.
The History of Human Rights Day
In the aftermath of World War II, millions of people were left appalled by Nazi Germany’s depraved disregard for human life. It was a dark period that no one wanted to see repeated, so the newly organized United Nations organized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Drafting Committee, which was led by Chairwoman Eleanor Roosevelt. And on December 10, 1948, the committee presented the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (you can read the preamble and 30 separate articles here).
Human Rights Day commemorates the principles set forth by the UN and all the progress that has been made over the past 60 years. Many things have gotten better, but millions are still fighting for their basic human rights.
Dignity and reverent respect are the pillars of a mindful community. In order to make the world a safer place for everyone, we have to work together. This year the UN encourages us to “step forward and defend the rights of a refugee or migrant, a person with disabilities, an LGBT person, a woman, a child, indigenous peoples, a minority group, or anyone else at risk of discrimination or violence.”
Celebrate Human Rights Day
Want to know how you can make a difference on Human Rights Day? Learn more from the tips below.
- Open your eyes. We have a tendency to avert our eyes when other people are suffering. If they appear in the news and their stories are too sad we change the channel. Or if they don’t share our religious beliefs, we judge them and ignore their suffering. Turning a blind eye and continuing in ignorance only leads to tragedy. It has happened time and time again and this pattern will continue until we open our eyes and ears. Today, make a change. Open your ears and just listen for once. Don’t rush to judgment.
- Open your heart. We as humans have far more in common than we have differences. So, as you listen to the stories and the plight of others begin to open your heart. Empathize. Put yourself in their shoes. In the end, everything harkens back to the golden rule that appears in all religions, in one form or other, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
- Take action and get involved. Stand up for someone’s rights today. Get involved in community outreach programs. Don’t just donate your money—donate your time as well. Consider participating in a UN-sponsored event. There will be events held throughout the world, including New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Vienna, Brussels, Lagos, Geneva, and New Delhi. Lastly, encourage your children to care for all humans as well. Remember that they will take their cues on compassion from you.
Bonus. Interested in learning more? Watch the United Nations video listed below.