Human Rights Day is observed across the globe on 10 December each year. This date commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. The UDHR is the foundation of modern human rights laws across the world, including the UK's Human Rights Act.

Each year the British Institute of Human Rights encourages national and local actions to observe Human Rights Day. For the past seven years, BIHR has brought together civil society groups from across the UK to join together in a letter to our political leadership on the importance of human rights here at home.

This year, 145 organisations joined us in signing a letter to the Prime Minister asking her to stand firm on universal human rights standards as the foundation of a forward-looking UK. The letter has been published in the Sunday Telegraph. The letter is below, with a full list of signatories.

Human Rights Day is an opportunity for us all to stand together and reaffirm our common humanity. Wherever we are, we can make a real difference.

There is much work to be done to make sure that universal human rights are protected and respected here in the UK. BIHR's mission to bring human rights to life here at home by empowering people to know what human are, and speaking up will be vital.

You can:

  • Become a Friend of BIHR – much of our work is unfunded; as a charity we rely on the support of people like you who care about human rights to join us.
  • Join the Twitter conversation follow us @BIHRhumanrights and use #HumanRightsDay
  • Share our social media image on Facebook, or like us

Human Rights Day letter, published in the Sunday Telegraph

Download a PDF version of the letter here.

Full details of signatories:

British Institute of Human Rights, Sanchita Hosali, Acting Director

Act for the Act, Fiona Bawdon and Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Co-founders


Advocacy Focus, Justine Hodgkinson, Chief Executive Officer

Age Connects Morgannwg, Rachel Rowlands, Chief Executive Officer

Age Connects Wales, Jeff Hawkins, Chair

Age Scotland, Keith Robson, Charity Director (Deputy Chief Executive)

AIRE, Matthew Evans, Director

All Wales People First, Joe Powell, National Director

Alzheimer Scotland

Amnesty International UK          

Arcadea, Katy Saunders, General Manager

Article 12 in Scotland, Lynne Tammi, Chief Executive Officer

Article 39, Carolyne Willow, Director

Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA), Mohammed Ali, Chairperson

Asylum Link Merseyside, Ewan Roberts, Centre Manager

AVA (Against Violence and Abuse), Donna Covey CBE, Director

BHA for Equality in Health and Social Care, Priscilla Nkwenti, Chief Executive

BILD (British Institute of Learning Disabilities), Ben Higgins, Chief Executive Officer

Birthrights, Rebecca Schiller, Chief Executive

brap, Asif Afridi, Deputy CEO

Bristol Mind, Tom Hore, Director

British Association of Social Workers, Dr Ruth Allen, Chief Executive

British Medical Association, Keith Ward, Chief Executive

Carers UK, Heléna Herklots CBE, Chief Executive

C-Change Scotland         

Changing Our Lives, Jayne Leeson, Chief Executive Officer


Child Soldiers International, Rachel Taylor, Director of Programmes

Children in Scotland

Children’s Rights Alliance for England, Louise King, Director

Citizens Advice York, Simon Topham, CEO

Clynfyw Care Farm CIC, Jim Bowen, Manager 

Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights, Jatin Haria, Executive Director

Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), Brian Gormally, Director

Consortium of LGBT Voluntary and Community Organisations, Paul Roberts OBE, Chief Executive Officer

Detention Action, Jerome Phelps, Director

Disability Rights UK, Kamran Mallick, Chief Executive Officer

Disability Wales, Rhian Davies, Chief Executive

End Violence Against Women Coalition, Rachel Krys, Co-director

English PEN, Antonia Byatt, Director

Fair Trials, Jago Russell, Chief Executive

Fairness, Respect, Equality Shropshire (FRESh) Ltd, Jonathan Hyams, Society Secretary

Family Rights Group, Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive

ForcesWatch, Emma Sangster, Coordinator

Freedom from Torture

Friends, Families and Travellers, Abbie Kirby, Advice and Policy Manager 

Garden Court Chambers, Marc Willers QC, Joint Head of Chambers

Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE), Ian Welsh OBE, Chief Executive

HIV Scotland, George Valiotis, CEO

Human Rights Consortium          

Human Rights Consortium Scotland

Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study                   

Humanist Society Scotland, John Bishop, Chair

Humanists UK, Andrew Copson, Chief Executive

Inclusion London

Inspire, Sara Khan, Co-founder and Co-director

International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, Dr Phillip Tahmindjis, Director

Ipswich & Suffolk Council for Racial Equality, Audrey Ludwig, Director of Legal Services

Jersey Cares: Refugee Aid Group, Bram Wanrooij, Chair

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), Satbir Singh, Chief Executive

Just Fair, Jamie Burton, Chair

JUSTICE, Andrea Coomber, Director

Latin American Women's Rights Service (LAWRS), Lucila Granada, Director

Law Centres Network, Julie Bishop, Director

Legal Action Group, Steve Hynes, Director

Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG), Carol Storer OBE, Director

Leigh Day Solicitors, Sean Humber, Head of Human Rights

Let Us Learn      

LGBT Foundation, Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive

Liberty, Martha Spurrier, Director

Mary Ward Legal Centre, Paula Twigg, Director

Mental Health Foundation, Isabella Goldie, Director

Merseyside Refugee Support Network, Seana Roberts, Operations Director

Migrants Organise, Zrinka Bralo, Chief Executive

Migrants Resource Centre

n|compass Advocacy Service    

NAT (National AIDS Trust), Deborah Gold, Chief Executive

National Alliance of Women's Organisations (NAWO), Barbara Cleary, Vice Chair

National Care Forum, Vic Rayner, Executive Director

National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi), Rob Greig, Chief Executive

National Survivor User Network (NSUN), Sarah Yiannoullou, Managing Director

National Union of Students, Rob Young, Vice President Society and Citizenship

Nia, Karen Ingala Smith, Director

Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council, Melanie Crofts, Chair

Older People's Commissioner for Wales, Sarah Rochira, Older People's Commissioner for Wales

OPAAL (UK), Kath Parson, Chief Executive 

Praxis Community Projects, Sally Daghlian OBE, Chief Executive 

Prisoners’ Advice Service, Deborah Russo and Lubia Begum-Rob, Joint Managing Solicitors

Public Law Project, Jo Hickman, Director

Quakers in Britain, Paul Parker, Recording Clerk

Race On The Agenda (ROTA), Andy Gregg, Chief Executive

RAMFEL (Refugee & Migrant Forum of Essex and London), James Tullett, Chief Executive

RAY (Refugee Action York), Sally Bourton, Chair of Trustees

Rights Watch UK, Yasmine Ahmed, Director

Redress, Carla Ferstman, Executive Director

Refugee Council, Maurice Wren, Chief Executive

René Cassin, Mia Hasenson-Gross, Director

Rochdale & District Mind, Celia Walsh, Advocacy Services Manager

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), John Downie, Director of Public Affairs

Scottish Legal Action Group, Eamon Keane, Convenor

Southall Black Sisters, Pragna Patel, Director

St Martin of Tours Housing Association, Paul Holden, Operations Manager

Stonewall, Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive

Stonewall Cymru, Andrew White, Director

Stonewall Scotland, Colin Macfarlane, Director

Sue Ryder, Heidi Travis, Chief Executive

Suicide Crisis, Joy Hibbins M.A. (Oxon), Chief Executive Officer

Terrence Higgins Trust  

The Helen Bamber Foundation, Professor Cornelius Katona MD FRCPsych, Medical Director

The Howard League for Penal Reform, Frances Crook, CEO

The IARS International Institute

The Judith Trust, Annette Lawson OBE, Chair

The Life Story Network, Anna Gaughan, Chief Executive 

The Runnymede Trust, Dr Omar Khan, Director

The Traveller Movement, Yvonne MacNamara, Chief Executive Officer

The Unique Transgender Network North Wales

Together (Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights), Juliet Harris, Director

Tower Hamlets Law Centre, Cate Tuitt, Trustee

TransForum Manchester, Jenny-Anne Bishop, Chair and joint founder

UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG), Leila Zadeh, Executive Director 

UK Race and Europe Network, Alan Anstead, Coordinator

Unicef UK, Mike Penrose, Executive Director

UNISON, Dave Prentis, General Secretary

United Kingdom Homecare Association, Bridget Warr CBE, Chief Executive

United Nations Association – UK, Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director

Unlock Democracy, Alexandra Runswick, Director

WALES PEN CYMRU, Sally Baker, Director

Wellingborough Black Consortium, Anjona Roy, Chair

Welsh Refugee Council

Welsh Women's Aid, Eleri Butler, Chief Executive

West Norfolk Disability information Service (WNDiS)

Wish, Joyce Kallevik, Director

Women in Prison, Kate Paradine, Chief Executive

Women’s Aid, Katie Ghose, Chief Executive

Women's Aid Federation Northern Ireland         

Women's Resource Centre, Vivienne Hayes MBE, CEO

York Human Rights City Network             

Yorkshire MESMAC, Tom Doyle, Chief Executive

Youth Justice Legal Centre, Kate Aubrey-Johnson, Director

Young Legal Aid Lawyers, Oliver Carter, Co-chair

Youth Access, James Kenrick, Chief Executive

Children’s Commissioners:

Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland

Commissioner for Children and Young People, Scotland, Bruce Adamson 

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma