Academy Award winning actor, director and producer Ron Howard on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In 1948 the world was still coming out of World War II and struggling with the memory, still fresh, of atomic weapons being dropped on civilian populations.

The United Nations had just been formed, to ensure that World War would never happen again.

Within the UN, a committee was formed, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, to draft a document outlining the basic rights and freedoms of all men and women, the rights we inherently hold just by being human. The document was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948. It was the beginning of the human rights movement.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the heart of human rights, and where we are today.

The UDHR has since been used in drafting the constitutions for many new democracies, including Japan and Germany after the war. It is taught in countless schools and universities as the very foundation of human rights, and is referred to by governments, academics, advocates, and constitutional courts, and by individuals fighting for their rights around the world.

Read the UDHR, see the gallery of human rights heroes fighting to uphold these writes. Then tell us if you know a human rights hero who should be included. Their work can be “large” or “small”, international in scope or something that affects human rights in their own local community.