To celebrate Human Rights Day 2018, we share a prayer issued by Roma De Robertis, Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception. Especially this year, Dec. 10 brings the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This important document was drafted by John Peters Humphrey, late of Hampton, New Brunswick. He was an international human rights lawyer who worked for the first human rights division at the U.N.
Praise to You, faithful God of life and freedom.
Giving thanks, we celebrate your deep desire for
equality and dignity amid diversity.
Guide us to hear — as one —
cries of those made poor
and cries of Earth.
Together with peoples of every place and nation,
we honour the 70th anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights —
upholding the common good . . .
unfolding still in modern history.
We offer thanks, too, for the church’s
human rights tradition, evolving through centuries;
expressed anew by Pope St. John XXIII;
animated by many giving their lives for
your unquenchable justice.
Lamenting violence, indifference and greed,
we pray for and advocate with
those whose rights are ignored, violated, denied . . .
those displaced, abused, trafficked . . .
the United Nations; non-governmental organizations
and all committed in peace to human rights
within the fullness of your vast creation.
Send us your energizing Spirit
to speak truth and be light in darkness.
With trust and hope, we pray in the name of Jesus
who stood with those oppressed,
bringing Good News in his time, for all ages. Amen.
Roma De Robertis, SCIC ~ 2018
About Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Human Rights Day marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being — regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.
Drafted by representatives of diverse legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration sets out universal values and a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. It establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person. Thanks to the Declaration, and States’ commitments to its principles, the dignity of millions has been uplifted and the foundation for a more just world has been laid. While its promise is yet to be fully realized, the very fact that it has stood the test of time is testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice and human dignity.