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Human Rights Day: A Commemorative Observances Legal Research Guide

This guide provides a historical background and proclamations related to Human Rights Day (December 10).


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 historical background of the United Nations General Assembly activities and presidential proclamations that 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.

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