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Human Rights Day is observed every year on the 10th of December which is the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR is a milestone document, which proclaims the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being - regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.

The aim of the Declaration of Human Rights is to establish a common standard of living for all people across the planet that everyone is entitled to, and to encourage all UN member states to strive towards the said standard of living for the people in their nation.

Despite the efforts to protect human rights, the hostility toward human rights and those who defend them continues to rise. As a result, this year’s Human Rights Day advocates for everyone to stand up for their rights and those of others in all aspects----civil, economic, political, and cultural rights. Additionally, the day aims to enlighten us about how our rights are a foundation of sustainable development and peaceful societies. The day also acknowledges the advocates and defenders of human rights around the world.

Human Rights Day is important to the field of Social Work and Counseling because those Social Workers and Counselors in counseling, advocacy and teaching realms of the field know firsthand the impact their decisions have on the future of the clientele they serve. Social Workers and Counselors advocate for change in the best interest of a collective of people rather than just one set of people. I believe that everyone deserves to be respected. In the counseling field, I am afforded the opportunity to address the emotional and mental impacts that inequality and social injustices have had on the clients I serve. As a global whole, we should give more reverence to basic human rights. If this is done, we will have less people traumatized and dealing with mental health issues as a result of violated human rights. As a counselor, I take with great pride and honor the advocacy on behalf of the clients I serve. In honor of Human Rights Day, I challenge you to celebrate Human Rights Day with one deed of kindness for a stranger.

Author: Brittney Collins-Jefferson, LCSW, LCADCI and Dana Papania, Counseling Practicum Student


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