Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 10, 2023

Katy Cobian, ’25, and Kevie Lamour, ’25, writing letters for Write for Rights

Katy Cobian, ’25, and Kevie Lamour, ’25, writing letters for Write for Rights.

By Kara Anderson, ’25

Today is International Human Rights Day, and this year marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The UDHR was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10th, 1948. It was drafted by people from around the world with different backgrounds and beliefs who came together to form a document proclaiming the rights of all human beings. It outlines these rights in 30 articles. You may read a plain language version of these articles on our website.

Human rights are universal, equal, inalienable, and interdependent. That is, they belong to all people and can never be taken away. Just because someone’s rights may be violated does not mean they do not exist.

In order to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the UDHR, the Albion College Human Rights Lab participated in Amnesty International’s annual Write for Rights campaign, the largest human rights event in the world.

Every year Amnesty International identifies cases of rights violations where global activism can make a huge impact. People around the world write letters to show solidarity and apply pressure on governments and other decision makers. These letters have the power to change lives. Since 2001, over 100 people featured in Amnesty’s campaign have seen a positive outcome to their case.

Last year, Albion participated in the campaign for the first time. As a result of participation like ours, the situations of members from the 2022 campaign have improved. For instance, Joanah Mamombe and Cecillia Marova from Zimbabwe were acquitted in July of 2023 after having been arrested for protesting and charged with faking a brutal sexual assault by authorities.

Joanah said, “Thank you so much to our Amnesty International friends for writing all these letters. We are now beginning our journey to heal.”

This year the Lab challenged the Albion community and other Global Liberal Arts Alliance schools to write 75 letters in honor of the 75th anniversary of the UDHR. We are proud to say we met our goal.

The Albion community wrote over 75 letters for people in Tunisia, Poland, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Brazil, South Africa, Eswatini, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, and the United States.

Mr. Khalid and his students writing letters for Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign.

Mr. Khalid and his students writing letters for Write for Rights.

Additionally, Forman Christian College in Lahore, Pakistan, accepted our challenge and also wrote over 75 letters. This effort was led by lecturer Adeel Khalid, the FCCU English Department, and student volunteers Paria and Rafi. (Paria is also a guest writer for the Albion Advocates blog.)

The Albion College Human Rights Lab is honored to partner with human rights defenders around the world and work with amazing people such as those at Forman Christian College. Together, we can expand our impact and work to promote human rights for all.

If you are interested in being a part of the 2023 Write for Rights Campaign, sign the petition and/or write a letter today!

Kara Anderson is a junior political science and English double major pursing experiential learning certificates in human rights and legal studies. At Albion, Kara is a part of many organizations including the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program and the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.

The views expressed here represent those of the author and not necessarily of Albion College.