Commemorating International Human Rights Day

On this day – Dec. 10 – 66 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was approved by the UN General Assembly. To commemorate the day, they proclaimed the first Human Rights Day in 1950 to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the UDHR as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.

This need to protect and indeed promote human value and dignity is equally acute today as it was 66 years ago. The UN continues to work towards accomplishing the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times, is entitled to the full range of human rights.

Earlier today, Microsoft commemorated International Human Rights Day in Warsaw by co-convening a group of over 50 human rights thought leaders, including Polish government officials and representatives of civil society organizations. At this productive session, participants shared insights, perspectives and learning related to the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP). Together with the Polish Human Rights Ombudsman, the Polish UN Global Compact office and the largest business employers association, Lewiatan, the roundtable participants discussed the steps needed to implement the UNGP across government and business in Poland. The discussions also resulted in the identification of various collaborative opportunities going forward, with a particular focus on efforts to develop the Polish National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights.

This year’s slogan is “Human Rights 365,” which encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. At Microsoft, we couldn’t agree more – as a leading technology provider with global operations, Microsoft is well situated to bring the power of technology to bear to promote respect for human rights around the world. Our Global Human Rights Statement articulates how we apply this to our business practices, and our Citizenship Report illustrates the work we do every day, around the world, to advance human rights.

Mairead Keigher, Microsoft Government Affairs Manager for Central and Eastern Europe; and Marek Kosycarz, Senior Community Affairs Manager of Microsoft Poland, also contributed to this post.

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