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Human Rights Day at the Law Library

We all know that there are a huge number of “days” (or weeks, or months, or sometimes the whole year!) for remembering and celebrating significant events or highlighting different issues.  There are the serious ones, like Earth Day, World AIDS Day, and Law Day.  And then there are some that are a bit less serious, like International Talk Like a Pirate Day and National Punctuation Day.  And sometimes they are both fun and serious – for example, last month was “Movember” in Australia and New Zealand (and I saw that it might be catching on a little here in the U.S. too).

One day (a serious one, of course) that we celebrate here in the Law Library is Human Rights Day.  This day is observed each year on December 10 to commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly on that day in 1948.

The UDHR was the first universal statement that all human beings have certain inherent rights that are inalienable and has, in the words of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “set the direction for all subsequent work in the field of human rights and has provided the basic philosophy for many legally binding international instruments designed to protect the rights and freedoms which it proclaims.”

Following on from our previous Human Rights Day events, the Law Library is again hosting a panel discussion on a human rights-related issue.  This year the topic is the cultural property rights of indigenous people.  There will be four speakers on the panel:  Helen Stacy from Stanford University, who will talk about customary indigenous practices in Australia and South Africa;  Betsy Kanalley from the U.S. Forest Service, who will talk about geographic names (Ms. Kanalley is also on the U.S. Board on Geographic Names); and Steve Clarke and I from the Law Library – Steve will talk about the authentication of Canadian indigenous art, and I will talk about Māori culture and the intellectual property laws of New Zealand.

The event will be held at the Library of Congress at 1 p.m. this Friday (December 10) in the Mumford Room, which is located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington D.C. 20540.  It’s free and open to the public so please join us if you are able to.

Update: The event is now available to watch on our Law and the Library YouTube Playlist.

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