December 10: Human Rights Day
Enlarge image A new symbol for human rights. Predrag Štakić with his logo “Free as a man”. (© magazin-deutschland) It combines the symbols of a hand and a bird: “Free as a man” is the title of the blue logo which was created by Predrag Štakić from Serbia and became the universally recognized symbol of the international movement for human rights at the end of September 2011. The graphic designer’s work won convincingly in a worldwide competition for a human rights logo which Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle launched in Berlin in May 2011.
The winning design was one of around 15,300 entries from more than 190 countries. And the power of this new logo will be especially important on December 10: this is the day the United Nations (UN) declared as international Human Rights Day. The world community celebrates this day each year to commemorate the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948. The Nobel Peace Prize is also traditionally awarded in Oslo on December 10. In 2011 it will be received by the journalist from Yemen, Tawakkul Karman, the Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Liberian civil rights activist Leymah Gbowee. All three women have stood up for democracy and women’s rights in their countries.
The protection of human rights is a key concern in German politics. Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle sees respect for human rights as a basic essential for lasting peace and economic development. Areas stressed in the Federal Government’s current Human Rights Report include: strengthening the rights of women and girls, combating forced marriages, child pornography and the sexual exploitation of children, and fulfilling the human right of access to clean drinking water and sanitation. Important tasks in the protection of human rights up to 2012 are also defined in the “Action Plan for Human Rights”. Here, German foreign policy is concentrating especially on supporting human rights defenders, condemning torture and capital punishment worldwide, and the reform of the UN Human Rights Council.