Human Rights Day 2022 – Q&A Laura Lettow – Düsseldorf

In the course of this week, counting down to Human Rights Day, annually observed on December 10th, we will be contributing to the awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by sharing a piece of its history and achievements and shed a light on one or more of its articles through a personal view of one of our members in the 5 countries we are present in.

For Germany, Laura Lettow, Travel Manager/Office Manager in Düsseldorf gives her personal view on the UDHR:

1. When was the first time you have learned about the UDHR and in which context?

The first time I learned that there were and are people who are not nearly as well as I was and who had to suffer for very banal and incomprehensible reasons was when we had a project about “Anne Frank” in elementary school. Perhaps not quite age-appropriate, but so I and my classmates at that time learned early that we live very privileged and have to support the fellow human beings who did not have this luck. The UDHR is an instrument to achieve this.

2. How would you describe the UDHR in only three words?

Freedom, Independence, Safety 

3. Which Article of the UDHR has sparked your interest the most?

It’s really hard to choose one article, I was most touched by the following four:

Article 1: I am born free and equal and all human beings should be treated in the same way.

Article 19: I have the right to think and say what I like and no one should forbid it.

Article 26: I have the right to go to school, continue my studies as far as I wish and learn regardless of race, religion or country of origin.

Article 28: To make sure my rights are respected, there must be an order that can protect them. This order should me global.

4. Has thinking about the UDHR changed your perception and/or behaviour – if yes, in what way?

Not only human rights, but also the phrase “no human being is illegal”, which I often heard at home, made me appreciate my privileged life and the happiness of being born and raised in a democracy more than ever. It is super important that human rights exist and be observed and that we respect, value and are open to every human being, regardless of their origin, race, religion, gender, etc.


History of the UDHR

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was established by United Nations (UN) on 10 December 1948. When the atrocities committed by Germany during World War II became fully apparent, the consensus of the newly founded United Nations (UN) was, that a UN Charta containing human rights was not sufficient. The declared goal was to create a universal declaration of human rights. The Declaration was drafted by a committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt from early 1947 to late 1948. The committee included members from all around the world – a strong sign of the universality of human rights. On 10 December 1948 during the General Assembly in Paris the Declaration was accepted. Of the 58 member state of the UN in 1948, 48 voted in favour, eight abstained and two did not vote. Not a single member state did vote against the Declaration.


If you would like to take a look at the other interviews: 

Article 27 : I have the right to share the benefits of my community’s culture, arts and sciences.

Article 25 : I have the right to have what I need so that my family and I do not go hungry, homeless or fall ill.

Article 12 : I have the right to protection.

Article 19: I have the right to think and say what I like and no one should forbid it.

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