75 Years of Human Rights around the world

Seventy-five years after its adoption, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still considered a milestone document for its progressive and comprehensive language. After World War II, it was created with the intention to bring the promise of freedom, equality, and justice for everyone – and most of all, peace.

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a major celebration was organized by the United Nations Association of Hungary and the Ludovika University of Public Service in Budapest, Hungary. The event brought together prominent female leaders including Ghada Waly, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Hungarian President Katalin Novák and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad. Each speaker brought a unique perspective to the discussion, underscoring the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a beacon of hope and a guide for nations worldwide.

Ghada Waly said that despite progress, human rights still face global challenges: “A particularly abhorrent example is human trafficking, a crime that denies the basic humanity and dignity of people and treats them as commodities.”. With two billion people living in conflict zones, human rights violations are rife in many places of conflict from Ukraine to Sudan. “In the cracks opened by such instability, we are seeing the loss of hard-earned human rights gains in different corners of the globe,” she added.

Katalin Novák, in her address, highlighted the necessity of fighting persistently for the enforcement of human rights. She stressed the importance of preventing the recurrence of rights violations and the role of women in promoting awareness, avoiding conflicts, and resolving them.

Nadia Murad, a goodwill ambassador for UNODC, advocate for victims of human trafficking and a symbol of resilience and courage, had been awarded with an honorary degree by the host university. Her story of survival and activism, especially against the use of sexual violence in warfare, has been an inspiration to many.

This event was not only the anniversary celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but also served as a reminder of the ongoing challenges. It underscored the collective responsibility to ensure that these rights are not just theoretical constructs but living realities for people across the globe. The speakers’ commitment, their personal stories, and their call for action provided a powerful impetus, urging individuals and nations alike to stand up and champion human rights for all.

PHOTO credit: Dénes Szilágyi