HUMAN RIGHTS DAYS
The following dates are recognised internationally or regionally to celebrate human rights issues. They may be of interest to teachers, churches and many others seeking to raise awareness of human rights.
Martin Luther King Day - 15 January
Marks the life of the celebrated Civil Rights campaigner, Martin Luther King.
Holocaust Memorial Day - 27 January
Highlights the importance of understanding and combating the processes that led to the mass extermination of Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and other groups during World War 2, recognising that the type of behaviour demonstrated in Nazi Germany was not unique either to Germany or to a particular point in history. More recent events in Cambodia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Rwanda and Kosovo amply demonstrate the propensity of human beings to engage in mass murder.
International Women’s Day – 8 March
Celebrates and advocates gender equality.
Commonwealth Day – second Monday in March (13/3/06)
The fifty-three member countries of the Commonwealth celebrate their links with one another.
Fair Trade Fortnight – March
Two weeks in which the principles and products of fair trade are promoted and the links between consumers and producers highlighted.
World Consumer Rights Day – 15 March
World Water Day – 22 March
This day, declared by the UN General Assembly, aims to promote awareness of the extent to which water resource development contributes to economic productivity and social well being.
World Health Day – 7 April
Through World Health Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is seeking to stimulate a global health debate on the global burden of disease and the factors causing it.
Global Campaign for Education Action Week – 24-31 April
Promotes education as a basic human right and mobilises public pressure on governments and the international community to fulfil their promises to provide free, compulsory basic education for all people; in particular children, women and all disadvantaged or deprived sections of society.
International Labour Day – 1 May
Promotes social justice and internationally-recognised human and labour rights.
World Press Freedom Day – 3 May
World Fair Trade Day – 13 May
World Fair Trade Day is celebrated on the second Saturday of May and is endorsed by the International Fair Trade Association, the global authority on fair trade, comprised of 256 organisations from 60 countries around the world.
World Environment Day – 5 June
This day, declared by the UN General Assembly, aims to deepen public awareness of the need to preserve and enhance the environment. The date recalls the opening day of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972), which led to the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Day of the African Child – 16 June
This day marks the anniversary of the Soweto Uprising in South Africa. On 16 June 1976 thousands of students took to the streets to demonstrate against the inferior quality of education, the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction and the right to be taught in their own language. The Apartheid government responded with lethal force, resulting in the death of several black students.
World Refugee Day – 20 June
In 2001, in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the UN General Assembly declared 20 June as World Refugee Day.
Africa Refuge OR REFUGEE? Day - 20 June
International Youth Day – 12 August
Set up in 2000, the United Nations International Youth Day celebrates the experiences and voices of young people.
International Day of Rememberance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition – 23 August
A day of remembrance for those who lost their lives as slaves.
International Literacy Day – 8 September
In 2001, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2003 to 2012 as the Literacy Decade: Education for All, recognising the importance of literacy to eradicating poverty, achieving gender equity and ensuring sustainable development.
International Day of Peace – 21 September
Declared by the UN General Assembly in 2001, the International Day of Peace calls on all nations to observe a day of global ceasefire and non-violence and invites all people everywhere in the world to honour a cessation of hostilities throughout the day.
Black History Month – October
A month celebrating black history and the contributions of black people worldwide.
World Food Day – 16 October
Declared by the UN General Assembly to heighten public awareness of world food problems and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – 17 October
Declared by the UN General Assembly to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in developing countries.
African Charter on Human & People’s Rights – 21 October
One World Week – October (around 24/10)
Established in 1978, One World Week seeks to raise awareness of global issues and to encourage the community to take action locally to change things that are unjust, damage the environment and cause poverty. The week also celebrates being part of a diverse but interconnected world. United Nations Day (24 October) always falls in One World Week.
United Nations Day – 24 October
Marking the anniversary of the launch of the United Nations Charter in 1945 and celebrated since 1948, United Nations Day is recognised throughout the world by meetings, discussions and exhibits on the achievements and goals of the UN. The purposes of the United Nations, identified in the UN Charter, include maintaining international peace and security, solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and promoting respect for human rights. The UN consists of 15 different agencies and various bodies who are responsible for promoting and delivering its goals.
Rememberance Day – 11 November
Commemorates the millions who have died as a result of war.
International Day for Tolerance – 16 November
Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996.
Universal Children's Day – 20 November
Marking the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959, the day raises awareness of the importance of actively promoting the welfare of the world's children.
World Aids Day – 1 December
A United Nations and World Health Organisation day to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with nearly 40 million people in the world are living with HIV/AIDS, the majority being in sub-Saharan Africa.
Human Rights Day – 10 December
Established by the UN General Assembly in 1950, this day marks the anniversary of the Assembly's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.