Today, poverty prevails as the gravest human rights challenge in the world. Combating poverty, deprivation and exclusion is not a matter of charity, and it does not depend on how rich a country is. By tackling poverty as a matter of human rights obligation, the world will have a better chance of abolishing this scourge in our lifetime... Poverty eradication is an achievable goal.
The 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights occurred on 10 December 2008, and the UN Secretary-General launched a year-long campaign leading up to this anniversary. Because the UDHR holds the world record as the most translated document (except for the Bible), organizations around the globe used the year to focus on helping people everywhere learn about their rights.
PresidentRaúl Alfonsin, of Argentina, decided to assume office on December 10, 1983, ending the military dictatorship that had ruled the country since 1976. The election of that day for his inauguration was related to human rights violations committed during the dictatorship. From then on, all presidential inaugurations have taken place on December 10.
Human Rights Day is endorsed by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) as an official day of Humanist celebration.
In an irony of fate, former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, known for human rights violations committed during his authoritarian rule, died of a heart attack on 10 December 2006, at the age of 91.
Gay rights activists in the U.S. state of California urged people to support equal rights by "calling in 'gay'" to work. This was in response to the renewed ban on gay marriage when Proposition 8 passed earlier in the year.
Several people were detained in China after around 300 people signed an online petition titled Charter 08 for the government to improve human rights in the country. In Beijing, a small protest was broken up that took place outside the foreign ministry.
UNYA Australia celebrated Human Rights Day with the write4rights campaign, asking young people to contribute a message about human rights by phone or on a website for display in Australian State capital cities.
10 December 2009 marked the 61st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Tom Malinowsky from Human Rights Watch in the U.S. state of Washington commented that there had been progress in human rights over the last 40 years" "I think there is greater awareness around the world that people have fundamental rights and that those rights are enshrined in both law domestically and internationally".
In South Africa, Human Rights Day is celebrated on 21 March, in remembrance of the Sharpeville massacre which took place on 21 March 1960. This massacre occurred as a result of protests against the Apartheid regime in South Africa.