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  • 10 December 2018

    Each year, 10 December marks Human Rights Day, which falls on the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly. This year's celebrations are unique because of the Declaration's 70th anniversary.

    Signed in Paris on 10 December 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is one of the greatest and longest lasting achievements of the United Nations. It is a milestone document in the history of human rights, which is "a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected" (Declaration Preamble). The Declaration has been the source of inspiration for international human rights conventions, which have followed in its wake. The Declaration's underlying assumption is that everyone is entitled to inalienable fundamental rights and freedoms, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.


    Even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the world's most translated document (into over 500 languages), many people are still not aware of its existence; indeed, they are not aware that they enjoy the rights enshrined in it. On a UN website, you can join in a campaign of reading Declaration articles in your native language and thus support the international effort of raising global awareness of the Declaration


    Despite the fact that 70 years have passed since the Declaration's adoption, the situation is dramatic in many regions across the world and requires urgent reaction and commitment from the international community. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs keeps track of the human rights situation worldwide on an ongoing basis. We are closely following and responding to the persecution of members of religious minorities, including Christians, national minorities, and human rights defenders.


    The Pro Dignitate Humana Prize of the Minister of Foreign Affairs is one of the tools that promote and protect human rights worldwide. It is conferred each year in recognition of uncompromising actions to defend the rights of repressed people and those at risk of repression and in recognition of a steadfast attitude in defence of individual rights and respect for human dignity. This year, the Prize was given to the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who is in Russian detention. Its name, "for the sake of human dignity", fully reflects the ideals that Oleg Sentsov stands up for. His willingness to devote his health and life to draw the world's attention to what is happening in Crimea deserves the highest respect.


    Polish diplomacy is making use of Poland's UN Security Council membership (2018-2019) to promote respect for international human rights standards. For example, we have organised meetings devoted to the situation of children in armed conflict, stigmatisation of children born as a result of sexual violence, and the situation of disabled people in armed conflict. Poland seeks election to the UN Human Rights Council for the 2020-2022 term.


    For more information about the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, go to and

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