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Should We Celebrate Human Rights Day?

Dr. V.Rajyalakshmi

Honorary Professor (Law)

Andhra University

Today is 10th of December which is earmarked as human rights day and we find many virtual celebrations taking place all around the globe. As we keep celebrating this human rights day, year after year, it is certainly not an unquestioned celebration. For those who do not know why this day is particularly earmarked as human rights day and question the same, we can happily inform that this 10th December is the day on which the United Nations has adopted a landmark declaration, namely, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 which listed out a variety of human rights to which all human beings are equally entitled to. On the other hand, it is most uncomfortable to answer if somebody asks why should we be celebrating human rights day even when we continue to observe the recurring violations of human rights around the world.

Every question deserves an answer. Uncomfortable question deserves answer all the more.

Celebration need not be a mark of achievement. Celebration can just be a marker of many things. Therefore, reasons to my mind as to why we should keep on celebrating human rights day are,

1. It works as an annual reminder of people’s entitlement to human rights.

2. It helps to recollect the spirit and significance of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Through its black and white inscription of an otherwise unwritten natural entitlements the UDHR secured an unambiguous understanding of the human rights to which individuals are entitled to.

3. The event of adoption of UDHR is a huge mile stone in the development of human rights jurisprudence despite the non binding character of the declaration. With all authenticity we can say that UDHR provided the impetus much needed for building up of human rights jurisprudence. Its inherent global appeal is continuing to inspire the detailed branching of many human rights. Most of the legally binding instruments of human rights drew their inspiration from UDHR.

4. By casting the responsibility on global community to promote respect for and secure universal and effective recognition and observance of the human rights through international and national measures, the UDHR has provided the most wanted global focus on human rights.

5. More importantly, the UDHR showed the way for individual right holders to enjoy their human rights more effectively with the aid of enforcement ability of states. It is an undeniable fact that many potential and actual violations of human rights are being taken care by the many governments but for which the individuals would have been subjected to great misery to deal with their deprivations on their own since their abilities cannot really match the power of a state to set right the situations of deprivation.

6. It provides the necessary stimulation to assess the human rights situation around the world.

Celebration of human rights day in the face of constant violation of human rights is all the important because it provides an occasion and opportunity to underscore the deficits in human rights observance. It helps to bring into focus the gaping gaps between entitlement, enjoyment and enforcement of human rights. It reminds the world that all is not well.

7. Finally, celebration of human rights day is most important to remind the right holders of the necessity to be mindful of their responsibilities. It gives an occasion for introspection to see if the world is not all that well is there a deficit of responsibilities and values, the core component of any responsibility. Finding is too glaring – Indeed, there is a gross deficit of human values and responsibilities on the part of rights holders. In other words, rights holders have their own share in making the world not all that well.





Dr. V. Rajyalakshmi, Honorary Professor of Law, Andhra University

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