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World Marks Human Rights Day

  • VOA News

Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education, attends an award ceremony to receive her 2013 Sakharov Prize, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Nov. 20, 2013.
Countries around the world are marking International Human Rights Day.

U.N. Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay said the fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place, but the key now is in implementing these standards when the political will and financial resources often are lacking on the ground. She also noted the past 20 years have seen a number of failures to prevent atrocities and safeguard human rights.

The United Nations honors five rights defenders Tuesday, including a Moroccan journalist and Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai.

In Yousafzai's native Pakistan, authorities marked the day by promoting activities that celebrated security, peace, and prosperity.

In Armenia, opposition groups planned a rally and a march in Yerevan to highlight human rights issues.

The U.N. General Assembly proclaimed December 10 as Human Rights Day in 1950. Tuesday also marks 20 years since the signing of the Vienna Declaration, the U.N. pact that committed states to the promotion and protection of human rights for everyone.

The right to an education, the rights of children and women's rights are all protected by the Vienna Declaration.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said 57 million children worldwide do not attend school. Many of them live in conflict zones and most are girls.

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