Skip to Main Content

Human Rights Day: A Commemorative Observances Legal Resource Guide

This guide provides the legislative history, proclamations, and laws related to Human Rights Day (December 10).

Introduction

Human Rights Day is observed each year to commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights External (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948. The adoption of the UDHR was proclaimed in United Nations General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) [PDF] External.

The Law Library of Congress has prepared material with commentary and recommended resources for selected national observances and commemorative months. This guide provides a brief history of the laws and presidential proclamations which established Human Rights Day.

United Press International, contributor. Receives human rights award, New York: Dorothy Height (right), president of the National Council of Negro Women, presents the Mary McLeod Bethune Human Rights Award to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt at the council's silver anniversary lunch here, Nov. 12th. [...] Mrs. Roosevelt is an honorary chairman of the council. 1960. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

About the Law Library of Congress

The Law Library of Congress contains the world’s largest collection of law books and legal resources. It is a repository for the compete record of American law and holds foreign law materials covering all major national, state, and equivalent jurisdictions. In 1832, the Law Library was officially established to provide the United States Congress and Supreme Court with access to current and accurate legal research materials. Over time, our mission was expanded to include other branches of the U.S. Government, the public, and the global legal community. This evolving mission is supported by a collection of around three million volumes and brings together the expertise of approximately 100 lawyers, librarians, other professionals, and support staff who provide legal reference, research, and analysis using the Law Library’s collection. We also draw upon the collections and expertise of our colleagues throughout the Library of Congress.