Today, December 10, marks International Human Rights Day. It commemorates the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that, for the first time, provided a roadmap for protecting freedom and equality on a global scale. The resolution passed with a vote of 48 in favor. Of the eight countries that abstained, all were — and some still are — ruled by dictatorships. Those abstentions serve as a reminder that authoritarianism is an impediment to fundamental human rights.
Today, 74 years after this landmark declaration, more than four billion people live under authoritarian rule. Let’s keep them in our minds, especially as we mull the theme of this year’s Human Rights Day: “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All.” In light of this theme and the Human Rights Foundation’s (HRF) mission to promote and protect human rights where it’s most at risk, we urge democratic governments to defend democratic values, reminding them that dignity, freedom, and justice can’t exist alongside authoritarianism.
HRF also calls on the international community to support peaceful dissidents and activists in countries under authoritarian rule. While dictatorships attempt to suppress calls for change, the voices of brave dissidents must not be silenced.
Since its inception, HRF’s flagship conference, the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF), has provided a stage for some of the world’s most brave human rights defenders to speak truth to power. OFF is a space for activists, artists, journalists, technologists, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, academics, and world leaders to meet and brainstorm ways to expand freedom and challenge authoritarianism across the globe.
In 2023, OFF will celebrate its 15th anniversary. Register today and use code 15yearsofOFF to get an early bird discount on your ticket.
Dissidents also need your support. By donating to HRF or attending the Oslo Freedom Forum, you can support activists and provide them with the resources, skills, network, and attention they need to make a difference in their countries.
HRF stands strong in its commitment to promoting dignity, freedom, and justice. HRF will continue to amplify the voices and causes of human rights defenders and dissidents working in authoritarian regimes.
At HRF, every day is International Human Rights Day.