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Human Rights Day: Celebrate Our Struggles, Build for the Future


In a dramatic way not seen in years, today’s celebration of International Human Rights Day arrives during enormous and popular ongoing struggles.

In the worldwide job crisis, workers must still have right to decent work and should not be forced to choose between unemployment and precarious work. See the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) message on International Human Rights Day.

Yesterday, people around the world joined a conversation with Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, to talk about human rights—including the right to form or join unions in the workplace and to bargain for a better life.

You can watch a short video or listen to the conversation here.

This has been an extraordinary year for human rights around the world. Millions found their voices using the Internet and instant messaging to inform, inspire and mobilize supporters to seek basic human rights. Social media helped activists organize peaceful protest movements in cities across the globe—from Tunis to Madison, Wis.; from Cairo to Cleveland and New York to Madrid—at times in the face of violent repression.

At the core of the struggles around the globe is the right for all people to have a real voice on the job, and the right to a decent job.

The public rallied against right-wing governors who sought to curtain rights on the job. Polls showed that tw0-thirds of Americans say workers should have the right to collective bargaining. In Geneva, Switzerland, the International Labour Conference (the part of the United Nations that addresses workers’ rights) voted to codify the rights of domestic workers to form unions. Around the world, regular people have rallied against corporate corruption and for political freedom.

As the U.N. announcement about this important day says:

Human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values. As a global community we all share a day in common: Human Rights Day on 10 December, when we remember the creation 63 years ago of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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