Human Rights Day 2014        

Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

“Human Rights 365”

UNESCO was created in 1945 to promote cooperation through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information, in order to deepen universal respect for the dignity, equality and mutual respect of all women and men. Almost seventy years later, this mandate has not aged a day. Promoting human rights remains an essential task – not just on Human Rights Day, but on every day of the year, for every woman and man, everywhere. This is the meaning of Human Rights 365.

  Promoting human rights remains an essential task – not just on Human Rights Day, but on every day of the year, for every woman and man, everywhere.

Irina Bokova
UNESCO Director-General

This message is especially important now, as States shape a new global sustainable development agenda to follow 2015, building on the universal values of equality, justice, cultural diversity, peace and security. The new agenda should be human right based and human rights driven, to bridge inequalities and social exclusion, to respond to extremism and conflicts, and to build more just and sustainable societies.

This must start with human rights education. Teaching the values of respect, tolerance and solidarity is essential to empower learners and to foster new forms of global citizenship. These goals guide UNESCO’s leadership to promote quality education for all and steer forward the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative across the world. Human rights and global citizenship education should be key elements in the post-2015 agenda.

The media play an essential role – by raising awareness about human rights and by countering prejudice and stereotypes. To these ends, UNESCO has been working with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights since 2005 on the World Programme for Human Rights Education. The third phase (2015-2019) of the Programme focuses on human rights training for media professionals and journalists. Similar goals guide the plan of action for the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) that UNESCO is spearheading across the United Nations system.

In a world changing quickly and societies under pressure, I appeal to UNESCO Member States, to all Governments and civil society, to reaffirm their commitment to human rights as the guide to all action and the measure of its success.

Download the message in PDF format
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New Edition

Human Rights: Questions and Answers


Human Rights: Questions and Answers
By Leah Levin with cartoons by Plantu

Join the celebration

  • Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Do you know what your rights are? The Declaration has been translated into at least 435 languages and dialects

  • Take part in human rights campaigns of the day.

  • Organize lecture series, film series, book discussions, workshops, seminars,  debates and symposia on human rights.

  • Wear a t-shirt on Human Rights Day. Make or have a t-shirt made just stating that it is Human Rights Day. Or write out a specific article from the United Nations Declaration.

  • Get out and help people within your community.



Related Information

Universal Declaration of Human Rights




Key Documents