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For Human Rights Day 2018, marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), we asked the elected Board of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) to read parts of the UDHR.

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The humanist movement has always supported human rights, including many of the individual humanists involved in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) itself!

Today is the 70th anniversary of the UDHR. Before 10 December 1948 the legal rights that existed in the world were piecemeal, divided, or non-existent. But with the coming of the UDHR, the global community now shared an official consensus on the obligations that States held toward their citizens, and the responsibilities we all have toward one another.

It’s no coincidence that on a new tide of internationalism and optimism, the IHEU was founded a few years later in 1952.

The UDHR was a tremendous historical leap forward, and it’s important to remember — despite some who now claim that the rights encoded in the UDHR are “Western” — that it was an effort led by people from all corners of the world, and in fact many of the strongest voices calling for their rights to be protected came from the global south.

But even today these rights which have been declared universal and indivisible are not respected in practice for every person.

As you can see from the wealth of human rights stories at iheu.org, we are a frequent and consistent advocate for human rights; we are a critical friend to the best institutions we have for upholding human rights; and we are a champion of humanists and human rights defenders all over the world.

We wouldn’t need to do this work if we lived in a perfect world. Human rights are under threat today from authoritarian and theocratic governments in too many countries!

But our vision remains: “We want everyone to live a life of dignity in a world where universal human rights are respected and protected, and where states uphold secularism.”

Thank you for your support.

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