On the 10th of December each year we celebrate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1948.
This year, Human Rights Day calls on everyone to take a stand for human rights. The Mary Robinson Centre honours 10 women who have stood up for human rights with a short video that highlights quotes which show their vision for making the world a better place.
As Mary Robinson has often quoted, in 1958, on the tenth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home.”
We can all take small steps to stand up for human rights and reaffirm our common humanity. Thank you to all who have fought so hard for human rights.
For more information:
Human Rights Day
We've given a bit more information about these inspiring women below, with links so you can find out more about them and the incredible things they've achieved.
Zainab Salbi - is a humanitarian, author, and media personality that has dedicated herself to women’s rights and freedom. At the age of 23, she founded Women for Women International, a grassroots humanitarian and development organization dedicated to serving women survivors of wars rebuild their lives.
Malala Yousafzai - shot by the Taliban for going to school. Malala is a global advocate for the millions of girls being denied education because of social, economic, legal and political factors. In 2013, Malala co-founded the Malala Fund to empower and educate girls and was a Nobel Peace Prize recipient in 2014.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - a Nigerian novelist whose work has been translated into more than 30 languages, Chimamanda has used her global platform to stand up for the rights of women and refugees. She is famous for her TED Talks, particularly "We Should All Be Feminists."
Monica McWilliams - is a professor in the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University and serves on a three-person panel which makes recommendations on the disbandment of paramilitary organizations in Northern Ireland. During the Northern Ireland peace process, Ms. Williams co-founded the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party; she is a signatory of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and chaired the Implementation Committee on Human Rights.
Coretta Scott King - was an author, activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. from 1953 until his death in 1968. Coretta Scott King helped lead the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
Eleanor Roosevelt - was an American politician, diplomat, and activist. She was longest-serving First Lady of the United States, pushed the US to join the United Nations and became it's first delegate. She served as the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, and oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. No list of human rights advocates would be complete without her.
Mary Robinson - first female President of Ireland, former barrister advocating human rights and women’s equality in the Irish and European Courts, former UN High Commissioner of Human Rights and founding member of The Elders. Mary has a long career of global advocacy for human rights.
Aung San Suu Kyi - is a noted prisoner of conscience and advocate of nonviolent resistance, she was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. Since being released by the Burmese military and she has been a State Counsellor and Leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma.
Mairead Corrigan Maguire - is a peace activist from Northern Ireland. She co-founded the Women for Peace, which later became the Community for Peace People, an organisation dedicated to encouraging a peaceful resolution of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Maguire was awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize.
Graça Machel - one of the world’s leading women’s and children's rights activists who has campaigned tirelessly to champion equality for women and children. Machel is the former freedom fighter, Mozambique's first Education Minister, the Founder of The Graça Machel Trust, a founding member of The Elders and the widow of the late Nelson Mandela.