Each year the 10th December is celebrated as Human Rights Day across the world. The date marks the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. Civil society groups across the world use this date as an opportunity to celebrate and mark the importance of human rights globally.
Every year a diverse range of organisations across Northern Ireland have traditionally held events in the week surrounding this date to mark the occasion and highlight different aspects of human rights as they apply locally and internationally. In 2012 a number of these organisations came together to pool those individual events into a programme of activities promoted together for the first time as the Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival.
The festival is currently administered by the Human Rights Consortium in collaboration with a Steering Committee of organisations from civic society. The distinct events that make up the festival however, are developed and run by organisations and individuals with an interest in the protection and promotion of human rights. The diversity of events and the range of issues covered as part of the festival are reflective of the universal nature of human rights.
The past year has seen many challenges for Human Rights, including in Northern Ireland. This festival sees a broad range of organisations from across Northern Ireland come together to provide an exciting range of events that help reflect the festival theme of “Celebrating and Protecting Human Rights”.
The festival programme integrates classic festival style events with topical human rights issues from home and abroad in an effort to raise public awareness and participation in the promotion and defence of human rights. This year as part of our programme we have a Human Rights Cabaret event in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry, the ‘From a Republic of Conscience’ poetry event at Queens University in conjunction with Belfast’s first Poet Laureate Sinéad Morrissey and several talks, presentations and many other events. One late addition to the festival programme is a Transitional Justice Institute event on Friday 13th December entitled ‘Groundhog Day: Five Years on from the Bill of Rights Advice’.
We look forward to seeing you during the festival!