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International Day for Human Rights

The world celebrates the tenth of December which marks the International Day of Human Rights on which a resolution was made by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948 adopting the first universal declaration of human rights which provided the basis for of all treaties and instruments of human rights thereafter. The celebration of this day takes different forms in different parts of the world, where the United Nations organizes during this day a number of important events related to human rights issues such as meetings and cultural exhibitions, in addition to granting on this day the United Nations Prize in the field of human rights. Governments, civil society organizations, and human rights institutions organize countless events on this day to raise awareness of human rights concepts in all parts of the world. As a matter of tradition, a particular theme is selected as a subject of focus each year in the course of celebrating this day.

This year brings to the light the rights of all people - women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, the poor, and the marginalized – to have their voices heard in public affairs/matters, thereby participating in the process of political decision-making.

Starting more than two years ago, Arab nations have been celebrating in their own way the International Day of Human Rights; celebrations in which large numbers of martyrs, wounded, injured, and displaced persons, beside refugees, are offered in Syria , Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia and Sudan, as if these peoples have taken it upon themselves to achieve the theme of this year "My voice got value” despite the oppression of political regimes, the suppression of security organs, and the denial of official media .

Political scientists identify four waves of democracy, the first of which was in Western Europe and America, the second in Japan and Germany after World War II, the third was the one in which democratization was achieved in Southern Europe, some Asian countries, and some countries in Africa and Latin America, and the fourth was the one that prevailed after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the transformation of Eastern Europe. It seems that the fifth wave is coming this time from the Arab world, which has long eluded the currents of democracy in proportions that invited despair. Now, it is the Arab peoples who are amazing the world by their uprising (intifada), attacking authoritarian regimes to topple them down one by one. They are transforming human rights from a state of just static provisions and texts into popular turmoil and living reality with all of its pains and sacrifices, on the one hand, and gains and victories, on the other. Thus, articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights relating to freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly and association, have been brought to life announcing their existence every day and every hour.

The massive violations of human rights and the enormous sacrifices incurred by the claimants of their rights in the countries of the Arab spring will not end up in vain. However, this should not distract us from working towards putting an end to these violations through exposing them on the widest of all scales, and applying pressure to stop them by all possible means. Let’s just take the opportunity presented by this day to achieve these goals.

Arab people succeeded par excellence in realizing the slogan/theme of the human rights day for this year: "My voice got value". We at the Geneva Institute strongly support the rebels in the Arab region, calling, in the process, for the cessation of all violations which are practiced on a daily basis against unarmed civilians, including men, women, children, infants, and the elderly.

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