Geneva (Switzerland). World Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10 December 2021, to commemorate the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
2023 marks, in particular, the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration. This year is therefore an opportunity to rejuvenate thinking on how the Declaration is relevant to people today, as human rights bring solutions to the world’s biggest challenges.
In order to commemorate and strengthen a movement for a better world, the United Nations have undertaken the Human Rights 75 Initiative whose three main goals focus on universality, progress and engagement under the leadership of UN Human Rights, together with its partners. The initiative culminates in a high-level event that will announce global pledges and ideas for a vision for the future of human rights.
In fact, on 11-12 December, governments will then gather in Geneva, Switzerland with the aim of tangibly improving human rights on the ground – such as by introducing legislation or announcing new funding (full program).
The Human Rights 75 – High-level event will:
- lead to concrete change and progress through pledging events;
- strengthen the worldwide consensus on the universality and indivisibility of human rights;
- lead to a vision for Human Rights for the next 25 years and feed the Summit of the Future;
- highlight 75 years of achievements, as well as the work done this year;
- and create a wave of public support for human rights.
You can register to watch the debates online (link).
Through their Human Rights Office in Geneva (IIMA) and VIDES International have also submitted a pledge focusing on “Youth Empowerment through Human Rights: A Call for Youth Meaningful Participation and Systematic Mainstreaming”.
IIMA and VIDES pledge to continue working for the empowerment of young people worldwide, not only by reporting existing protection gaps in the implementation of human rights with regard to youth, but also by greatly valuing the crucial role of youth in the promotion of human rights for society at large. Accordingly, both NGOs have been active in calling the attention of the Human Rights Council and other UN human rights bodies on the specific situation of youth in order to ensure that the rights of youth are placed high on the list of priorities.
Among the main barriers to effective, active, and meaningful youth participation, including in climate change and global environmental decision-making processes, IIMA and VIDES highlighted the lack of motivation from young people to engage towards global actions due to distrust in public political institutions and local authorities.
To adequately address these challenges and unlock youth potential as human rights advocates and promoters of the common good, IIMA and VIDES call upon Member States to:
- Ensure effective and transformative participation of youth in decision-making processes;
- Systematic mainstream youth rights through existing UN Human Rights mechanisms, especially the UPR and the Treaty Bodies.
Moreover, in the context of the High-level event, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will organize the Human Rights 75 Youth Dialogue: Amplifying the HR75 initiative among young people from 15:00 – 18:00 CET on December 11, 2023 in Room XVII, Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
Mother Chiara in her circular letter no. 1033 highlights that for being “honest citizens” today meant to be deeply aware that “we are citizens of the world”. She reminds us that “as Daughters of Mary Help of Christians present in the five Continents we have in our hands the most powerful and effective tool, that of education: young people, we have seen, and we see it daily, are the most sensitive. With the young we can educate ourselves on a path of integral ecology, and with them get to speak to governments and the great of the earth”.