The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948 to ensure the universal protection of fundamental human rights, commemorated its 75th anniversary in a Human Rights 75 High-level Event on 12 December 2023.
Roundtable discussions tackled the future of human rights in relation to peace and security, digital technologies, development and economy, and The Future of Human Rights, the Environment and Climate: Advancing the right to a healthy environment, including a safe and stable climate, for all (Roundtable 4).
Chaired and moderated by the Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Roundtable 4 considered recommendations to address the triple planetary crisis through the lens of human rights, and through steps to uphold these rights as a path to solutions. With the context that the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a roadmap for transformative change, urgent action is needed both to sustain ongoing efforts and to address where there are obstacles.
Human rights and care for creation
Another High-level Event to commemorate UDHR’s 75th anniversary was organized on 8 December by the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the UN on The Universality of Human Rights and the Universal Responsibility to Care.
The event, moderated by Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva, discussed the correlation between universal human dignity and rights, and our universal responsibility to care for one another and our common home.
Sister Alessandra Smerilli, Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, presented Laudate Deum, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the climate crisis and affirmed that human rights and safeguarding creation are “two sides of the same coin.” She said there is a “deep and direct connection between caring for our brothers and sisters and caring for the earth,” noting that “both are rooted in recognizing life as a gift from God.”
The event was co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Order of Malta, the Caritas in Veritate Foundation, the International Catholic Migration Commission, and the Forum of Catholic-Inspired NGOs in Geneva.