International Human Rights Day 2023: A Global Call to Sustain Progress

Celebrating 75 Years Of International Human Rights Day

In a world that's constantly evolving, the quest for justice and the preservation of human rights have remained timeless and unwavering pursuits. As we gather here today, on the cusp of the 75th anniversary of International Human Rights Day, we find ourselves at the intersection of history, sustainability, and a brighter future. This is a moment to celebrate our shared commitment to a more equitable world, a journey that spans decades and holds the promise of a better tomorrow.


International Human Rights Day, observed on December 10th, marks the anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. It is a day when we reflect on the profound importance of human rights and the universal principles that bind us as a global community.


As we look ahead to 2023, the significance of this day takes on new dimensions. It's not just about recognizing the past; it's about envisioning a world where human rights are not only respected but also deeply intertwined with the sustainability of our planet. We'll be taking a look back at the history of International Human Rights Day, delve into the crucial connection between human rights and sustainability, celebrate the progress made within the last year, and highlight the remarkable 2023 UN Human Rights Prize winners.


In a world of complex challenges, it's vital to remember that progress is not a destination but a continuous journey. The fight for human rights continues, and the commitment to sustainable living is more imperative than ever. 


We invite you to join the EcoBlvd community, stay informed, and become a part of this ongoing conversation. By signing up for our newsletter, you not only gain access to news and sustainable tips but also become an active participant in the collective endeavor to champion human rights and sustainability on a global scale. Together, we can illuminate the path forward, inspire change, and make a difference.

The Evolution of International Human Rights Day


Some dates in history stand out as beacons of hope, representing our collective determination to create a world where the dignity and rights of every person are respected. December 10, International Human Rights Day, is one such beacon. In 2023, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of this pivotal day, a momentous occasion that calls for reflection, inspiration, and action.


The Birth of a Vision


To understand the essence of International Human Rights Day, we must travel back to its inception. The roots of this day can be traced to the aftermath of the Second World War, a time when the world bore witness to the horrors of genocide, atrocities, and the indomitable human spirit's yearning for justice and dignity. The visionary leaders of that era, through the United Nations, sought to ensure that such horrors would never recur.


The year 1948 was a turning point. On December 10, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This monumental document, with its thirty articles, outlined the inalienable rights to which every human being is entitled. The UDHR set a moral compass for nations, emphasizing principles such as freedom, equality, and justice. It proclaimed that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."


Evolution and Relevance


In the 75 years since the UDHR's adoption, International Human Rights Day has evolved to embrace a wider, ever-relevant context. It has transcended its historical roots to become a symbol of hope, a reminder of our shared commitment to human rights, and a call to action.


As we stand at the threshold of 2023, International Human Rights Day has never been more pertinent. The challenges we face in today's world, from climate change to political strife, underscore the urgency of ensuring human rights are not just protected but deeply ingrained in the fabric of our societies. The day's significance extends to embracing sustainability as a fundamental component of human rights. As former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon aptly stated, "Sustainable development and human rights are mutually reinforcing: human rights are integral to creating and sustaining development, while development, based on sustainable economic growth, can contribute to the realization of human rights."


In 2023, International Human Rights Day marks a moment to reflect on our shared history and the progress made in the journey towards a more just and sustainable world. It is an opportunity to draw inspiration from leaders who have dedicated their lives to the cause of human rights and sustainability. As we commemorate this day's 75th anniversary, let's take a moment to embrace the wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt, who played a pivotal role in crafting the UDHR, "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world."

Section 2: The Connection Between Human Rights and Sustainability


In the quest for a better world, the interplay between human rights and sustainability is not a mere coincidence but a profound and intrinsic relationship. As we delve deeper into the essence of International Human Rights Day, it's imperative to understand the powerful synergy between these two fundamental pillars of a just and equitable global society.


Defining the Bond


Human rights and sustainability are two sides of the same coin. They are inextricably linked, sharing a common vision: a world where all individuals, irrespective of their background or circumstances, can lead lives of dignity, opportunity, and hope. At the heart of this connection lies the fundamental principle that every person has the right to a life of quality—free from discrimination, injustice, and inequality.


But what is sustainability in the context of human rights? It means ensuring that we meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It's about protecting the environment, ending poverty, and creating a world where people can flourish.


An Integral Piece of Sustainable Development


Sustainability is not an isolated concept; it is an integral component of the broader framework of human rights. Sustainable development goes hand in hand with the realization of human rights. For instance, the right to a clean environment is essential for maintaining good health, and the right to education is essential for building a sustainable future.


"The right to development is the measure of the respect of all other human rights. That should be our guiding principle as we work to create more equitable and inclusive societies. The Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world's leaders and the people."

— Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations


Where They Intersect


The intersections between human rights and sustainability are numerous. One striking example is the right to water, recognized as a human right by the United Nations. Access to clean water is not only essential for life but is also crucial for agricultural development and environmental preservation.


Similarly, climate change is an issue that transcends borders and impacts people's rights to life, health, and security. The fight against climate change is fundamentally a fight for the preservation of human rights. In the words of former Irish President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, "The climate crisis is a human rights crisis. The greatest injustices of climate change are suffered by people who have done least to cause it."


The connection between human rights and sustainability is a beacon of hope. It offers a path where social justice, environmental protection, and human dignity are harmonized, forging a world that is not only prosperous but also equitable

Progress in Human Rights in 2023


In order to understand the profound connections between human rights and sustainability, it's crucial to pause and reflect on the remarkable progress made in the realm of human rights during 2023. This year has witnessed transformative changes, inspiring improvements, and an outpouring of global efforts to promote and protect the rights and dignity of all individuals.


A Year of Milestones


The past year has been marked by significant milestones in the pursuit of human rights. We have seen achievements that resonate with the core principles of justice, equality, and freedom. From the release of unjustly imprisoned activists to the scrapping of controversial legislation, the global landscape is evolving toward a more just and equitable future.


In 2023, one notable victory was the release of Iranian activist Zahra Sedighi Hamadani, who faced the death sentence in 2022 for her support of LGBTI rights. Thousands of individuals rallied for her release, and after over a year behind bars, she regained her freedom. This remarkable example showcases the power of global solidarity in protecting the rights of individuals who face persecution and discrimination.


Another momentous achievement is the scrapping of the UK Government's Rights Removal Bill. This legislation, if passed, would have significantly curtailed human rights and freedoms. Thanks to years of activism and the collective action of thousands of individuals, this controversial bill was officially scrapped. This development underscores the critical role of grassroots movements in safeguarding human rights.


In Turkey, human rights defenders and Amnesty Turkey staff, including Taner Kılıç and Idil Eser, finally had their baseless and politically motivated convictions quashed in June after years of legal harassment. This demonstrates the resilience of human rights defenders and the importance of international pressure in the pursuit of justice.


Demands for Accountability and Justice


The pursuit of justice is a central theme in 2023's human rights landscape. The UN General Assembly voted to set up a new body aiming to reveal the fate of over 100,000 people missing or forcibly disappeared in Syria. This is a significant step forward after years of survivors' campaigns demanding justice and truth for those who have suffered in conflict zones.


The progress we have witnessed in 2023 is a testament to our shared commitment to a world where these rights are upheld and sustainability is ensured.

The 2023 UN Human Rights Prize Winners


It is no secret that among the diverse strands of human rights champions, there are those whose unwavering dedication sets them apart, making an indelible mark on the world. The 2023 UN Human Rights Prize has been awarded to individuals and organizations whose profound contributions epitomize the essence of this prestigious honor. Let us introduce you to the remarkable laureates and their exceptional work.


Human Rights Center "Viasna," Belarus


The Human Rights Center "Viasna" from Belarus has been at the forefront of promoting human rights and democracy in a challenging environment. Established in 1996, during mass protest actions of the democratic opposition, "Viasna" has consistently contributed to the development of civil society in Belarus. Their objectives encompass practical assistance to civic initiatives, research into the state of civil society and legal defense, civic and human rights education, and the promotion of democracy and human rights. They've been unwavering in their commitment to the principles of human rights, providing critical support to activists and advocating for justice in a context where such efforts are often met with adversity.


Ms. Julienne Lusenge, Democratic Republic of the Congo


Ms. Julienne Lusenge, a leader, peacebuilder, and human rights activist, has dedicated over 40 years to advancing women's human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Her work spans from preventing and reducing sexual and gender-based violence to strengthening women's participation and leadership in peacebuilding, political engagement, and civil society. Julienne empowers women to take control of their lives and influence their own communities. Her tireless commitment to gender equality and justice has reverberated far beyond her homeland.


The Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS), Jordan


The Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS) is an independent, regional, scientific, advocacy center for studies, research, and training on issues of human rights and democracy. Their activities contribute to the dissemination of a culture of human rights, focusing on five priorities covering key issues in human rights: the Right to Life, the Right to Think, the Right to Speak, the Right to Participate, and the Human Rights of Women. ACHRS exemplifies the vital role of education and advocacy in promoting human rights and social justice.


Mr. Julio Pereyra, Uruguay


Julio Pereyra, a community educator and activist from Uruguay, has dedicated his efforts to working with marginalized communities. His focus extends to the re-institutionalization of children in the educational system, providing therapeutic pedagogical assistance to children with disabilities, and ensuring access to orthotics, prosthetics, and medications. Julio's work includes the eradication of infant mortality, and combating school dropout, malnutrition, and adolescent pregnancy. Furthermore, he leads projects on child labor and malnutrition, as well as primary health care in villages, rural areas, and marginalized neighborhoods, including high drug-trafficking areas. His work has touched countless lives, addressing fundamental human rights and sustainability issues.


Global Coalition of Civil Society Organizations


The Global Coalition, comprising over 1,350 organizations and entities from 75 countries, has played a pivotal role in achieving the historic recognition of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. The Human Rights Council recognized this right in 2021 through resolution 48/13, followed by the General Assembly resolution 76/300 adopted in 2022. This recognition is a direct result of the persistent efforts of the Coalition and its partners. Their unwavering commitment to environmental rights aligns with the principles of human rights and sustainability.


These laureates and organizations have demonstrated a profound commitment to human rights and sustainability, setting an inspiring example for the world. Their work reflects the interconnectedness of these two vital dimensions and exemplifies the significance of upholding human rights as an integral part of sustainable development.

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2023


Human rights and peace are governed by individuals who demonstrate courage and resilience. The recipient of the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize, Narges Mohammadi, is one such luminary. Her principled and persistent campaign against the repressive regime in Iran has not only earned her this prestigious accolade but has also ignited hope and inspiration across the globe.


Narges Mohammadi, an imprisoned Iranian scientist, journalist, and human rights activist, has dedicated her life to the relentless pursuit of justice and human rights in a challenging and often perilous environment. Her advocacy for a more equitable and just society in Iran has been marked by unwavering determination and an unyielding commitment to her principles. Her courageous work has included raising her voice against repressive measures, advocating for political prisoners, and fighting for the rights of marginalized and vulnerable communities.


The 2023 Nobel Peace Prize is a resounding recognition of Narges Mohammadi's exceptional efforts to champion human rights and peace. It sends a clear message to the world that the fight for justice and freedom knows no boundaries. The award underscores the significance of persistently raising our voices against repression, discrimination, and injustice, even in the face of adversity.


Narges Mohammadi's honor is not an isolated event; it resonates with the broader human rights landscape. It reinforces the interconnectedness of human rights and peace, highlighting the role of individuals who stand up for justice, equality, and dignity. Her award is a testament to the resilience of human rights defenders worldwide and a reminder that their sacrifices and determination are recognized and celebrated.


Narges Mohammadi's journey is a source of inspiration for all who are committed to a world where human rights are upheld and peace prevails. Her story reminds us that even in the face of formidable challenges, individuals can make a profound impact on the human rights landscape. As we celebrate her remarkable achievement, we are encouraged to continue our own efforts in the shared pursuit of a more just and peaceful world.

Remaining Challenges and What Still Needs to Be Done


As we celebrate the achievements and laureates of 2023, it's imperative to recognize that the road to a world where human rights and sustainability prevail is not without its obstacles. In the midst of progress, there remain areas and issues where human rights continue to be neglected or violated, demanding our collective attention and action.


Neglected Rights and Ongoing Challenges


Conflict zones continue to be hotbeds of human rights violations. In regions torn by strife and violence, individuals are often subjected to unimaginable suffering. The world witnesses the displacement of countless people, the destruction of livelihoods, and the violation of fundamental human rights. Conflict zones remind us that the call for peace and justice is more urgent than ever.


Discrimination, in all its forms, remains a formidable challenge. Whether based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or other factors, discrimination robs individuals of their dignity and rights. It perpetuates inequality and hampers social progress. The fight against discrimination is an ongoing battle that demands our unwavering commitment.


Environmental degradation is another pressing issue that affects not only our planet but also the rights and well-being of future generations. Climate change, pollution, and the unsustainable use of natural resources threaten the right to a clean and healthy environment. As the planet suffers, so do the rights of those who call it home.


Our Role in the Journey


In the face of these challenges, we must remember that change begins with each of us. We are not passive observers of the world but active participants in shaping its future. Our voices, actions, and choices can contribute to the realization of human rights and a more sustainable world.


Advocacy and support for ongoing human rights efforts are not limited to those on the front lines. Every individual can make a difference by standing up against injustice, supporting organizations dedicated to human rights, and raising awareness about neglected issues. We can use our collective power to press for change, hold leaders accountable, and demand justice.


The journey towards a world where human rights and sustainability are the cornerstones of our existence is ongoing. As we celebrate the laureates of 2023 and the progress we've made, let us be inspired to continue our work, advocate for justice, and contribute to a more equitable and sustainable future.



International Human Rights Day, with 75 years of history, symbolizes our global pursuit of justice, equality, and human dignity. It underscores the intrinsic link between human rights and sustainability, illuminating a path to a better future.


In 2023, we celebrated remarkable achievements, recognized the UN Human Rights Prize winners, and honored Nobel Peace Prize recipient Narges Mohammadi. They exemplify the transformative impact of human rights advocacy.


Challenges persist, including conflict zones, discrimination, and environmental degradation. Our commitment to human rights and sustainability is an ongoing journey, demanding unwavering dedication and collective action.


The legacy of International Human Rights Day extends beyond a single day; it invites us to champion these principles and work together in our small places, close to home, to illuminate the path forward toward a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.

December 08, 2023