International Human Rights Day


“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Endowed with reason and conscience, they should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
Article 1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On 10 December, the international community celebrates International Human Rights Day, marking the moment of the adoption, by the United Nations General Assembly, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

Constituting a civilizational milestone in our collective history, the Declaration brought to the legal, social and cultural level the strong idea that all human beings are holders of inalienable rights, regardless of their race, gender, language, religion, political or ideological beliefs, social status or sexual orientation.

For the year 2021, the United Nations chose the theme of Equality and Non-Discrimination – central principles of the entire Declaration of Human Rights – and particularly sensitive in the current pandemic context.

It should be noted that, in May this year, the Ombudsman’s Office published a small collection entitled “pandemic notebooks”, three studies on the extraordinary times in which we live. The first focuses on the general issue of education and collects information that was obtained during the first phase of suspension of classroom lessons that took place in 2020. The second focuses on homelessness and covers practically the same period of time. The third reflects on the problems of the rule of law and what was happening between March 2020 and April 2021.

The Ombudsman’s Office in Portugal is the privileged interlocutor of the international institutions that monitor compliance, by States, with the rights enshrined in the Declaration, while its activity also includes the dissemination of fundamental human rights and their protection, being primarily vigilant regarding respect for the rights of the most vulnerable: children, the elderly and people with disabilities, for which it provides dedicated telephone hotlines.