Jamaica to celebrate 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, December 9 & 10

Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, Head of Delegation, European Union to Jamaica

Jamaica will join global celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 9 and 10 December with a visual art series hosted by the United Nations Jamaica, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the European Union Delegation and the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

Partner agencies have dubbed the series, Art for Human Rights, a visual art exploration of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration, and a call to action to all Jamaicans to “Stand up for Human Rights”.

The Art for Human Rights series includes: An art competition among students of the Edna Manley College for the best visual art depiction of Articles in the Universal Declaration; a social media campaign on the Declaration; live painting of 70th anniversary commemorative murals at Emancipation Park on Sunday 9 December accompanied by drumming; and the main event, an invitation-only Reasoning, Lecture and Art Exhibition on Human Rights Day, Monday 10 December at the College.

The Art exhibition will be on show at the College’s Cage Gallery, debuting at the ‘Reasoning, Lecture and Art Exhibition’ on Human Rights Day, and featuring visual art pieces entered in the Art competition. Dozens of entries are being received from Edna Manley College students vying for first prize of USD 1 000, second prize of USD 500 and third prize of USD 300.  The exhibition will be on show at the Cage until January 2019, followed by a nationwide tour in the first quarter of 2019.

Confirmed speakers for the Human Rights Day event include Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Bruno Pouezat; Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, Head of Delegation, European Union to Jamaica; Edna Manley College Chairman of the Board of Management, Marigold Harding, Edna Manley College orator Amina Blackwood Meeks, and other dignitaries.

The UN Resident Coordinator, who facilitates the joint work of 23 United Nations agencies, funds and programmes in Jamaica, said the visual art series and social media campaign is designed to illuminate the rights in creative, clear and colourful ways, and improve awareness of the Declaration. “The 70th anniversary is a fitting and significant milestone to reflect on human rights accomplishments over the decades while encouraging more persons to join local and global efforts to confront persisting challenges, but knowing the rights is the first hurdle to overcome”. He encouraged Jamaicans to take time to acquaint themselves with the rights by visiting jm.one.un.org, and to join in the social media campaign by posing with their favourite rights and tagging the UN Jamaica Facebook and Twitter pages.

Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, Head of the EU Delegation to Jamaica said ensuring that the human rights of all persons are respected is the key to building a strong, secure and prosperous society.  “For the EU and human rights defenders everywhere, the 70th anniversary of the UDHR is an opportunity to affirm our commitment to stand up for the rights of all persons, especially the most vulnerable.”

The Universal Declaration is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.