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NHRCK Celebrates 74th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea(Chairperson Song Doo-hwan, NHRCK) organized an event on December 9 2022 to celebrate the adoption of the 74th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR). This was the first in-person event in three years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and was attended by representatives from human rights organizations and human rights defenders as well as former and current human rights commissioners, diplomatic dignitaries, lawmakers and government officials.
Human Rights Day is celebrated every December 10 to honor the spirit of the UDHR. The United Nations adopted the UDHR on December 10 1948 and designated the day as Human Rights Day. The UDHR, which was proclaimed to realize human dignity and respect their rights, has since become the foundation of numerous international human rights treaties, contributing to the promotion of human rights.
To commemorate the 74th anniversary of the UDHR, 42 UN Special Rapporteurs released a statement calling upon Member States to enact and implement a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in accordance with the Practical Guide to Developing Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Legislation released by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
In his commemorative remarks, Chairperson Song took note of the long and bloody battle that Korea has fought to correct the human rights violations committed in the authoritarian era, but cautioned that we may lose our hard-won gains in human rights if we do not keep working to build on the achievements.
Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Yoo Nam-seok, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of Korea, also sent congratulatory messages for the event.
The event also included presentation of human rights awards to individuals and groups for their contributions to the protection and promotion of human rights. The recipient of the President’s Award was Ahn Keon-soo, who has been advocating for migrants’ rights since 2003 and helped to promote public awareness in this regard as head of a migrant workers rights’ center.
To recall the meaning of the UDHR, voice actor Yang Ji-woon read a letter describing the suffering endured by him and his family as they fought for the introduction of an alternative civilian service for conscientious objectors. Participants also heard a reciting of some of the articles of the UDHR by 12 individuals representing different sectors of our society, including a migrant, refugee, person with disability, LGBTI person, student and woman.
Regional human rights offices of the NHRCK in Busan, Gwangju, Daegu, Daejeon and Gangwon organized their own events to observe Human Rights Day.
As we celebrate the 74th anniversary of the UDHR, the NHRCK expresses its respect and gratitude to all those working to protect and promote human rights across our society and hopes that the events we organized provided an opportunity to reaffirm the significance of the declaration.