Universal Declaration of Human Rights to Travel into Space

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is poised to travel into space on 14 November. The adventure is part of the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the most significant human rights document on earth. 

Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60th anniversary logo © OHCHRAs it turns 60 years old, the everlasting UDHR is ready for its first space journey; it will remain in permanent orbit around the Earth in the International Space Station for years to come.

“In recognition of the fact that human beings are at times downtrodden, the Declaration can symbolically find its place 'above' all the peoples of the world", said ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Léopold Eyharts, who stayed at the International Space Station for two months earlier this year.

Two plaques with the inscription of the 30 articles of the UDHR, in both English and French, were presented by Rama Yade, the French secretary of state for foreign affairs and human rights to Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General, on 7 November.

Two plaques inscribed with the UDHR, both in English and French, remain in permanent orbit around the Earth in the International Space Station © ESA/MAEThe plaques, with the special UDHR 60th anniversary logo and protected in “space-proof packaging”, are to be on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour when it is launched on 14 November from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, according to the ESA.

The Declaration will then be stored on a permanent basis inside ESA's Columbus multidisciplinary space laboratory in the European module of the International Space Station. The International Space Station hosts a crew international astronauts living and working in space in the interests of research and for the benefit of humanity as a whole.

The United Nations, on Human Rights Day 2007, launched a year-long commemoration that leads on 10 December 2008 to the 60th anniversary of the UDHR. Under the overarching message: Dignity and Justice for All of Us, the commemoration reinforces the vision of the UDHR as a commitment to dignity and justice that applies to everyone.

Non-discrimination, equality, fairness and universality are core to the values enshrined in the Declaration, which was drafted and adopted by representatives of all regions and legal traditions.

As part of the UDHR 60 commemoration, the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has embarked on a wide range of activities to increase public awareness of the Declaration. Among others, it designated 6 -12 October as the Dignity and Justice for Detainees week to draw attention to the rights of people who are deprived of their liberty.