Human Rights Day: Standing up for human rights on this historic day

December 10, 2019
3 min read

Caroline Dobuzinskis

Sr. Manager, Digital Marketing Content

Legs and feet

Learn about the Canadian connection of this historic awareness day, and how you can support organizations working to advance human rights in Canada and globally. 

December 10th is a day to honour the adoption and proclamation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights. This landmark document provided a framework for the global protection of all people’s political, civil, economic, social, and cultural rights. While it lacked the weight of the law, it instigated the adoption of human rights treaties and declarations among 60 nations.

Interestingly, the UN Declaration (now the most translated document in the world) has a very direct Canadian connection. John Peters Humphrey was a Canadian legal scholar who turned down an offer to serve as Dean of McGill University. Instead, in 1946, he took on an appointment as the very first Director of the UN Division of Human Rights. He played a major role in drawing up the UN Declaration of Human Rights, also shepherding it through to adoption. Ahead of his time in 1963, he proposed the establishment of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, although it would actually take another 30 years to happen. 

Supporting human rights today

Today, there are a number of registered Canadian charities working to advance human rights domestically and internationally. Out of the more than 86,000 registered charities plus private foundations available to give to through the Charitable Impact platform, around 2.2% focus on the cause of human rights (1,967 in total).  

According to research by Charitable Impact, organizations focusing on human rights receive a small portion of the total revenue within the Canadian charitable sector. They are among a group of causes that receives 0.2% of total revenue, and that also includes charities categorized as supporting causes related to youth, environment, and animals.


If you’d like to give to support human rights or any other cause, we are here to support you. Through Charitable Impact’s online giving platform, you can give to any of the over 85,000 registered charities across Canada. By setting up a free Impact Account, our powerful search engine will connect you to charities — from familiar favourites to new discoveries. Plus, get recommendations through your account. You can add funds to your account, take the time and space needed to plan your impact, and then send gifts to the causes you care about.