Human Rights Day 2021

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” – Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10th. On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human Rights Day is the annual celebration of this anniversary. The theme for this year is EQUALITY – Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights.

UNESCO considers literacy a “matter of dignity and human rights.” Those in the literacy field continually support and advocate for this message. Strong literacy skills tie directly into this year’s Human Rights Day theme of equality. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) recently outlined some key aspects of human rights and how they relate to literacy.

  • Education. The continued worldwide pandemic has negatively affected education. It has even been called the worst disruption to education systems in history. To combat this, we must provide major investments in education. Investment in literacy education will have a profound positive effects on outcomes for both children and adults after the pandemic.
  • Health. Health literacy has also come to the forefront during this difficult time. Improving how health professionals communicate to the public, as well as ensuring patients understand the information they are given will improve health outcomes for all.
  • Freedom of Expression. This concept ties in well with enabling people to express themselves using the written word. Another angle is empowering people with media literacy and digital literacy to combat the misinformation and disinformation that we saw all too frequently in recent years. Misinformation and disinformation undermines our freedom of expression.

These are just some examples of how literacy is intertwined with human rights. Literacy contributes to equal access to information for all. With equal access we may experience all of our human rights.

Check out the video below featuring the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet to hear about this year’s theme. The resources below will help you mark this important day and advocate for the importance of literacy as a human right.


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