Human Rights Day 2013

Human Rights Day 2013 continued the celebration of the 20th anniversary with 20 YEARS: WORKING FOR YOUR RIGHTS as its theme but with the emphasis on the future and identifying the challenges that lie ahead.

Human Rights Day is held on 10 December every year, the date the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaiming its principles as the “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.”

Human Rights Day is celebrated globally, at the headquarters of the High Commissioner’s office in Geneva, in New York and in more than 50 other countries.

Events - Geneva, New York, and around the world

Special events to commemorate Human Rights Day were held on 5 December in Geneva and 10 December in New York and in the Human Rights field offices in all regions. Learn more >

Achievements - messaging

Because 2013 held a special significance as the 20th anniversary of the Office, organizers of Human Rights Day had a choice to highlight one or more of the human rights achievements of the previous two decades. The summary list below was provided as guidance.

Summary list of achievements >>
  1. Economic, social, cultural, civil, political rights and the right to development
  2. Human rights and peace and security
  3. Human rights treaties
  4. Individual complaints mechanisms
  5. Rule of law (International Criminal Court)
  6. Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review
  7. Independent human rights experts, assessment and investigative missions
  8. Civil society
  9. Right to participation
  10. National human rights institutions
  1. Torture and modern slavery
  2. Trafficking
  3. Business and human rights
  4. Freedom of expression
  5. Emerging rights (rights of older persons, right to the truth, right to a clean environment, right to clean water and sanitation and the right to food)
Upholding the rights of:
  1. Women
  2. People with disabilities
  3. Migrants
  4. LGBT
  5. Indigenous peoples and minorities

Logos and promotional materials

To help individuals and groups give Human Rights Day a profile in local neighborhoods, specially created designs including logos, posters and t shirts were made available for download. Download materials >

Statements and speeches

Read the statements from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay at the Geneva and New York events.
Learn more >


“The Road Ahead”, a specially produced public service announcement was made available for use along with several other videos highlighting key human rights themes, and a video statement from the High Commissioner. Go to videos >

Social media

Contine the conversation with #UNRightsAt20 via Twitter, Facebook, Storify, Google+ and YouTube.
Learn more >


A range of human rights priorities and concerns can be explored through these feature stories published on our website. Read stories >