Fly the Flag with Liberty this Human Rights Day

Posted by Sam Grant on 10 December 2018

‘…recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world’ – Preamble to Universal Declaration of Human Rights


This Human Rights Day, join us in celebrating 70 years of milestones in the fight for freedom and justice.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Seventy years ago today in the wake of the Second World War – on 10 December 1948 – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) sprang into being. It set out fundamental rights to which everyone is entitled – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

In the intervening 70 years, the Universal Declaration has become the most translated document in the world, having been translated into over 500 languages. It has inspired over 60 human rights instruments which help constitute international human rights law today – from the Convention against Torture to the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. It shaped the basis of the European Convention on Human Rights, which in turn was incorporated in UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998.

The Human Rights Act

You can draw a straight line from the Human Rights Act to the Universal Declaration so it’s apt that both are celebrating anniversaries this year. In November, Liberty celebrated 20 years of the Human Rights Act by giving away thousands of copies of a brand new Human Rights Act guide to our members, the public and to politicians. You can still order your copy here.

The Human Rights Act has led to countless important human rights victories and has supported individuals in their fight for justice – from Deepcut to Hillsborough. Simply, the UK is a better place for it. Yet we know that we cannot and should not be complacent about our rights. We have to continually make and remake the case for them.

Fly the Flag

That understanding is one of the reasons that Liberty – alongside Ai Weiwei and leading UK arts organisations – is proud to launch the ‘Fly the Flag’ project today on international human rights day. Fly the Flag celebrates our human rights and through 2019 will be asking schools and care homes, town halls and office blocks, hospitals and libraries to fly the human rights flag that Ai Wei Wei has designed.

In the same way that the Universal Declaration is more than a document, flags can be more than just colour and cloth. They can unite, inspire and embolden and help us remember that it is only through individuals and groups making a stand for our rights and against those who wish to undermine those rights that we are able to celebrate the progress of the last 70 and 20 years.

Liberty has been flying the flag since 1934 – now we have a physical one. So the question is, will you join us and fly the flag for human rights?

Sam Grant, Liberty

Sam Grant

Policy and Campaigns Manager