The date was chosen to honour the United Nations General Assembly‘s adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations. The formal establishment of Human Rights Day occurred at the 317th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on 4 December 1950, when the General Assembly declared resolution 423(V), inviting all member states and any other interested organizations to celebrate the day as they saw fit.
Human Rights Day – The African Union
The Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU), in Article 3(h) provides a clear mandate on the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights on the continent. This mandate is further reinforced by the continental human rights instruments, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the establishment of African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR).
During its fifth (5th) Ordinary Session held in Benghazi, Libya in 1989, the ACHPR adopted Resolution ACHPR/Res.1(V)89 on the celebration of an African Day of Human and Peoples’ Rights. It is for this reason that Member States of the African Union commemorate 21 October of each year as the African Human Rights Day.