Events Around the World

On 10 December, Human Rights Day, the Secretary-General launched a year-long campaign to lead up to the 60th birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on Human Rights Day 2008. The UDHR continues to hold the world record as the most translated document. With more than 360 language versions to help them, UN organizations around the globe will use the year to focus on helping people everywhere to learn about their human rights. The UDHR was the first international recognition that all human beings have fundamental rights and freedoms and it continues to be a living and relevant document today.

The theme of the campaign, “Dignity and justice for all of us,” reinforces the vision of the Declaration as a commitment to universal dignity and justice and not something that should be viewed as a luxury or a wish-list.

The UDHR60 logo depicts a human shape standing with arms wide open. The icon is gender neutral and represents liberation and equality. The yellow color is a sign of peace and warmth. The icon is set on a solid block which represents the foundation block of human rights. The choice of the earthy red color for the block reinforces the idea of human rights as the foundation stone and mankind’s common heritage.

Events Celebrating Eleanor Roosevelt and the UDHR 

  •  December 5, 2008
     A lasting memorial to Eleanor Roosevelt was dedicated on December 5, 2008 at the Place des Nations, in front of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The memorial, initiated in association with the Friends of Congo and funded by donations honors Eleanor Roosevelt as the driving force behind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A booklet on Eleanor Roosevelt’s role and the importance of the UDHR accompanied the ceremony inaugurating the plaque. The Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, Hyde Park, NY provided text by John Sears and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAE) sponsored the printing of the booklet. Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Mme Micheline Calmy-Rey was present at the ceremony.


To the left, Pam Perraud FAWCO Administrative NGO Director and to the Right, Paula Daeppen FAWCO NGO Director  

Dedication of the Eleanor Roosevelt Plaque in Geneva on Dec. 5th, 2008 
  By Pam Perraud

   Click to view Eleanor Roosevelt Plaque

Plaque is found to the left of Place des Nations with the Broken Chair memorial to Land Mine victims


  After more than a year of work, the Eleanor Roosevelt Task Force was delighted to attend the formal dedication of the Eleanor Roosevelt plaque located in the plaza directly in front of the Palais de Nations, the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva.

The plaque was in honor Eleanor Roosevelt’s work as the real driving force behind the adoption of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDH R).  The UDHR was adopted sixty years ago in Paris but much of the work of drafting the document was done in Geneva.

The City of Geneva sponsored the dedication event and paid for the setting up of the plaque. The actual cost of the plaque was made by individual contributions raised by the Task Force. The mayor of Geneva, Manuel Tornare gave the opening speech followed by Anne Herdt, President of the Eleanor Roosevelt Task Force. She spoke eloquently of Eleanor’s dedication and her special qualities. Her daughter, Helene Herdt, also a member of the Task Force translated her mother’s remarks into French for the audience. 

Micheline Calmey-Rey, Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs also spoke about the UDHR and what a remarkable woman Eleanor Roosevelt was.   David Roosevelt, a grandson of Eleanor who was unable to attend, sent a lovely message about this mother and about how honored she would feel by such a plaque.  Also in attendance at the dedication were Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, and former High Commissioner of Human Rights as well as other dignitaries from the UN and other agencies. 

After the brief dedication ceremony, guests were invited to attend the launch of a special
Swiss initiative called “Protecting Dignity: An Agenda for Human Rights”. The Agenda was the result of research projects on various aspects of human rights which were done by a panel of eminent person including, Mary Robinson, former High Commissioner; Paulo Pinheiro, former UN expert on violence against children; Theodor Meron, appeals judge of the International Tribunals; and Hina Jilani, former Special Rep on Human Rights Defenders among others. 

After the presentation of the new initiative, guests were treated to a special reception hosted by the Swiss Federal Dept of Foreign Affairs, the Republic and Canton of Geneva and the City of Geneva.

  •  September 3-5 2008
    61st Annual DPI/NGO Conference Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; UNESCO Headquarters, Paris France