Human Rights Day: Celebrating the Memory

Anniversaries are dates for memory. For remembering history, situations that motivated the need to write on paper a collection of basic and essential items that mostly appeal to the common sense of mankind.

For it is precisely the loss of common sense which generates the need to set dates, so that we remember where to our efforts should be directed.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is considered the foundation and inspiration of all laws and human rights treaties that have been passed and ratified in the world since 1950. It is the most translated document in the world (416 languages to date). But is not binding, it is an ideal basic guide written to protect equality and human dignity.

Today, coinciding with the celebration of the Universal Day of Human Rights, the burial of Madiba, Nelson Mandela is taking place. Coincidende or perhaps a last vindictive act of the South African leader, who sends his last message to us so that every year we remember the reasons that drove his struggle, which in essence are the same included in the Declaration of Human Rights.

Mandela dedicated his life to working for equal opportunities and peace, claiming education as a strategy to achieve this goal.

“Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world”.

Article 26

On this day, we pay tribute to Madiba recalling Article 26 of the Declaration of Human Rights:

  • Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be the same for all on the basis of merit.
  • Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, promoting understanding , tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial or religious groups, and shall further promote the development of the peacekeeping activities of the United Nations.
  • Parents will have the right to choose the kind of education that their children shall be given access to.


Image credits: Pierre Holtz for UNICEF |

Some figures

  • Some 57 million children do not attend school. 42% of them live in poor countries affected by conflicts.
  • The lowest rates of primary education belong to Sub-Saharan Africa, where only 65% of children attend school.
  • If all students in poor countries had basic reading skills, the number of poor people could be reduced by 12% .
  • There are at least 250 million children who cannot read, write or count well.

(Source: UNICEF)

Let us celebrate this day by inviting everyone to reflect on the reasons behind that motivated 65 years ago the drafting of the Declaration of Human Rights, in particular its Article 26.
Image credits: Pierre Holtz for UNICEF |

Leave a Reply