"To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity". Nelson Mandela
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says : "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood".
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is our universal guide to protect and promote human rights and to combat any form of discrimination against anyone, everywhere.
Unfortunately, human rights violations and discrimination happen everyday, everywhere in the world; the situation has even been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. They reflect a multifaceted reality from women’s rights and violence against women and girls, attacks on media and human rights defenders, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity but also inequalities in terms of access to decent work, housing and a clean environment, threats to our fundamental rights online or simply, the right to health.
Human rights violations and discrimination hurt people in their dignity; they question our whole humanity and remind ourselves of our responsibility. What should we do? How can we contribute meaningfully to a world where "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights"?
The European Union is a staunch supporter of human rights in the world. We stand by human rights defenders, we advocate for the implementation of international conventions and we assist national authorities in strengthening the legal framework.
We also promote "good human rights stories" as we believe that testimonials of those who have been through discrimination can not only inspire those who are still facing it but also give hope to all of us at a time where the focus is often on bad news.
Our Rise and Shine sensitisation campaign, which we launched on 8 March, has reached a cruising speed. The success of the campaign in 2019 strongly encouraged us to give it a renewed impetus to continue raising awareness on human rights in particular women and girls' rights, children’s rights, disability rights and LGBT+ rights and all forms of discrimination as a way to address them. For this, we share stories like the one of Cathy Valarien who has created her own hairdressing business and of Dr Lovena Veerapa Mangroo from the Ministry of Health who is in the frontline of the response to the coronavirus epidemic; we intend to share many others during the year. But all of this, we cannot do alone! We have the valuable support of 11 ambassadors who are leading positive action for the rights of women and girls, disabled persons, LGBT + persons ; they help us in spreading the key message of our campaign 'Rise and Shine' and share their vision for a better society. It may be only one initiative towards ensuring better respect for human rights, but every initiative counts – just like every drop counts in the ocean!
 Initiative launched by the EU at the UN General Assembly in 2018.