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A young Brazilian activist for the rights of indigenous peoples at the Young Activists Summit 2019 in Geneva. A young Brazilian activist for the rights of indigenous peoples at the Young Activists Summit 2019 in Geneva.  (ANSA)

Human Rights Day celebrates young people’s activism

Human Rights Day commemorates the 10 December 1948 adoption by the UN General Assembly of the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which proclaims the inalienable rights of all people.

By Robin Gomes

The United Nations is observing Human Rights Day, focussing on the role of young people in leading the way to a better future for all people. 

They are the ones who are “bringing human rights to life”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a message for the day, Tuesday, December 10.

Human Rights Day is an annual reminder that everyone is entitled to all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, social origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or any other status.  The theme of this year’s celebration is: Youth Standing Up for Human Rights.

“Globally,” Guterres noted, “young people are marching, organizing, and speaking out: For the right to a healthy environment, for the equal rights of women and girls, to participate in decision-making, and to express their opinions freely.”

“They are marching for their right to a future of peace, justice and equal opportunities.” 

Youth activism for climate action 

This year’s observance comes as countries are meeting in Madrid for the UN COP25 conference on climate change, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed out.

In a separate message, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, noted that this year’s Human Rights Day is being marked amid an era of “tremendous activism”, particularly by young people.

She described the climate emergency as the most profound threat to human rights globally since the Second World War.  The climate problem puts numerous rights at risk, including the right to life, health, food, water, shelter, development and self-determination.

Bachelet expressed gratitude to the millions of children, teenagers and young adults who are speaking out loud about the crisis facing our planet, saying their future and of those not yet born is at stake.  (Source: UN News)

10 December 2019, 16:18