Human rights are not mere words on paper, EU says on Human Rights Day
December 11, 2023

Human rights are not mere words on paper, EU says on Human Rights Day


On Human Rights Day, 10 December, the European Union joined the world in celebrating the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

“This landmark document laid the foundation for our global human rights system as well as national laws and international treaties protecting and promoting human rights, including the ECHR in Europe. It remains as valid and crucial today as it was 75 years ago,” EU High Representative Josep Borrell said in a statement on behalf of the European Union.

“Human rights transcend borders and cultures. They are inherent to every individual human being without distinction. While substantial progress has been achieved over the past 75 years, crises continue to multiply, and too often it is women, children and persons in vulnerable situations bearing the heaviest burden of the consequences of war and conflict,” said Borrell.

He added that respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights was one of the founding values and principles of the EU. Promoting universal respect for human rights is also a key priority of EU external action. The EU will also continue to condemn human rights violations and abuses, breaches of international humanitarian law, discrimination, shrinking civic space and attacks on democracy and media freedom wherever they occur, he said.

Together with the 75th year of UDHR, the EU also marked the 30th year of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and 25th year of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, acknowledging their crucial role as actors of positive change working for the promotion and realisation of human rights. 

“Human rights are not mere words on paper; they are universally applicable legal norms. They are the foundation of peace and the avenue toward a more just, equal and inclusive society for today, tomorrow and generations to come,” concluded Borrell.

Find out more

Press release



Interested in the latest news and opportunities?

This website is managed by the EU-funded Regional Communication Programme for the Eastern Neighbourhood ('EU NEIGHBOURS east’), which complements and supports the communication of the Delegations of the European Union in the Eastern partner countries, and works under the guidance of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and the European External Action Service. EU NEIGHBOURS east is implemented by a GOPA PACE-led consortium. It is part of the larger Neighbourhood Communication Programme (2020-2024) for the EU's Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood, which also includes 'EU NEIGHBOURS south’ project that runs the EU Neighbours portal.


The information on this site is subject to a Disclaimer and Protection of personal data. © European Union,