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How to celebrate Human Rights Day at work

Human Rights Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the freedoms that the UDHR granted us and raises awareness of how people’s human rights can be violated. How should you celebrate Human Rights Day? We have 3 great ways.

A group of adults are sitting around a table. They're chatting and smiling as they discuss their workplace's Human Rights Day celebrations.A group of adults are sitting around a table. They're chatting and smiling as they discuss their workplace's Human Rights Day celebrations.

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Insights from Ellen Raim, Founder of People MatterWe focus more on solving than preventing People problems.

Human rights are the basic universal principles and freedoms that belong to every single one of us, no matter where we’re from, what we believe in, what we look like or how we choose to live our lives. Essentially, human rights are all about inclusion — everyone should be treated equally and with respect.

Human rights are often taken for granted, because they’re based on principles that come naturally to many people – dignity, respect, fairness and autonomy. Usually, it’s only when these rights are violated that people take notice.

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What is Human Rights Day?

Human Rights Day takes place each year on December 10 to commemorate the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Human Rights Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of those who’ve fought for and protected human rights. It’s also a time to reflect on the future and work out what needs to be done to make our society fairer for everyone.

Human Rights Day aims to promote equality, peace, justice and the protection of human rights, while inspiring everyone to speak up and take action to end discrimination in all forms, whenever and wherever it happens.

How can you reaffirm human rights at work?

Human rights should, of course, be part of your organization’s DNA. That seems like an obvious statement, when we’re talking about “human rights.” But if we swap out “human rights” for “equity and inclusion,” sometimes it’s a different story.

Everyone – from your board chair and CEO to your individual contributors and frontline employees – should understand the importance of human rights. Equity and inclusion for all people, no matter who they are or where they’re from, must be built into the fabric of organizations — from the top to the bottom, internally and externally.

Why? Because we all deserve to have our human rights protected and cared for. But if you need a more quantifiable reason, because companies that prioritize DEI conversations and training have better cultures and deliver stronger results in terms of revenue and employee retention.

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How can you celebrate Human Rights Day at work?

Human Rights Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the freedoms that the UDHR granted us and raises awareness of how people’s human rights can be violated.

Here are three ideas to celebrate Human Rights Day in your workplace on December 10 (or any day throughout the year):

  1. Share what human rights, equity and inclusion mean at your organization and what employees can do if they see someone’s human rights being violated.
  2. Hold an awards presentation to recognize and reward inspiring employees who are supporters of human rights and go above and beyond to champion the rights of other people.
  3. Invite someone who champions human rights to talk to your employees about their experiences and beliefs. Make time for a Q&A at the end, so attendees can ask questions and converse with each other.

Wondering how you can measure your DEI progress? Click here!

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