Rome (Italy). Human Rights Day 2022 is celebrated on 10 December 2022, the day which commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations. “Dignity, freedom, and justice for all” is the slogan of the Day 2022, which kicks off the annual campaign UDHR 75 in preparation for the 75th anniversary of the Declaration, which is celebrated on 10 December 2023.

Since the adoption of the UDHR in 1948, much has been done to guarantee and promote the human rights of populations, especially the most vulnerable categories. However, respect for human life and dignity, the freedom of peoples, and their cry for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation still remain global challenges for all of humanity.

The rights and values recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provide guiding principles to guide public initiatives so that no one is left behind. Indeed, it is everyone’s responsibility to protect, promote, and respect the human rights of all.

The annual campaign UDHR 75 proposes to:

educate, fostering greater community understanding and awareness of the legacy and relevance of the UDHR and how it has guided UN human rights efforts;

promote a change of attitude that counters the growing skepticism and indifference to upholding and defending human rights;

empower and raise awareness, providing knowledge and tools to help people protect, promote, and realize their rights.

These three objectives of UDHR 75 are also the priorities of the Human Rights Office of the International Institute Mary Help of Christians (IIMA) of Geneva, in Switzerland that, with its formation courses and skills development, supports the Educating Communities in the use of the tools and procedures of the United Nations in defense of human rights, in particular of the most vulnerable subjects.

Thus, informed, sensitized, and empowered, the ECs become protagonists and promoters of human rights and integral sustainable development at the local, national, and international level. Through the human rights education process, IIMA seeks to give a voice to excluded and marginalized groups of society in the international debate, drawing attention to some fundamental human rights issues, such as the fight against discrimination and violence against children and women, inequality, the empowerment of young people and their right to participate, access to quality education especially for the poorest, justice, environmental protection, and the rights of indigenous peoples

To ensure that the human rights concerns of children, young people, and women are addressed at the local and national levels, the IIMA Human Rights Office is actively engaged in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, which involves reviewing the human rights records of the 193 member states of the United Nations.

The UPR offers each State the opportunity to declare what actions it has taken to improve the situation in its own Countries, to fulfill its human rights duties. To achieve this goal, the UPR provides for the assessment of the human rights situation in States and the resolution of violations wherever they occur. The Universal Periodic Review is designed to stimulate, support, and expand the promotion and protection of human rights on-site.

The IIMA Office, as an NGO, can submit information to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Information provided by NGOs can be quoted by all States participating in the interactive discussion during the review at the Working Group meeting. For 2022, the IIMA, with the collaboration of the Provinces of the FMA Institute involved, presented information on the situation of human rights in India, Ecuador, Brazil, the Philippines, Argentina, Benin, and Zambia.

The human rights issues highlighted in these reports were: the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the recognition of human rights, accessibility to quality education, the digital divide in education, access to basic services, protection from domestic, sexual, psychological, and digital violence, promotion of women’s rights, poverty reduction and economic development, protection and care of the environment, the health situation and action in the pandemic, violence against indigenous peoples, the issue of children, especially early marriage and child labor.

The Human Rights Office of IIMA in Geneva, faithful to its vision and mission, remains committed to opening new horizons and nurturing the collective dreams of humanity, especially of young people, promoting the safeguarding of dignity, rights, freedom, and justice for all.

 “We are called to educate young people to take care of each other responsibly, to form themselves in the values of justice, peace, universal fraternity to break down inequalities and injustices” (Mother Chiara Cazzuola, Circ. n° 1022).