Human Rights Day 2023

Human Rights Day: A Commitment to Dignity and Equity

Social action Corporate social responsibility

Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10 December to commemorate the moment when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, establishing a set of fundamental rights and freedoms for all human beings.

Human Rights Day 2023

Human Rights Day is celebrated every year on 10 December to commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. This declaration was historic and is considered a milestone in the recognition and promotion of the fundamental rights and freedoms that are considered inherent to all human beings, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion or other characteristics. It also includes civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights.

The celebration of International Human Rights Day aims to remind the international community of the importance of protecting and promoting human rights around the world. This day also serves as an opportunity to highlight current human rights challenges and violations as well as to promote awareness and action in their defence.

What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

But let's start with the first thing, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a fundamental document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly which, as its name suggests, sets out a set of fundamental human rights for all people everywhere.

The UDHR consists of 30 articles that address different aspects of human rights. Some of these rights include:

  • Right to equality and non-discrimination.
  • Right to life, liberty and security.
  • Prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  • The right to recognition as a person before the law.
  • Right to a fair trial and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
  • Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
  • Right to freedom of expression.
  • The right to work under just and favourable conditions.
  • Right to education.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been a significant milestone in the history of the promotion and protection of human rights. It serves as an internationally accepted common standard and has inspired the drafting of numerous international human rights treaties and conventions. Although the UDHR has no binding legal force of its own, it has influenced the creation of legal norms and constitutions in many countries, and is considered an ethical framework guiding the action of states and society in the promotion and protection of human rights.

What are the functions of the High Commissioner for Human Rights?

Although the UDHR is not legally binding, there is a United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) who heads the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and is responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights at the international level. The position was established by the UN General Assembly in 1993. 

Some of the key functions of the High Commissioner for Human Rights are as follows:

  • Promotion of Human Rights: Increases awareness and understanding of human rights worldwide. 
  • Monitoring and documentation: Monitors the human rights situation, collects information on violations and abuses and prepares reports. 
  • Technical assistance and capacity building: Supports states through staff training, development of legal frameworks and promotion of good practices. 
  • Cooperation with agencies and organisations: Collaborates with other agencies and actors to promote and protect human rights globally. 
  • Victims' advocacy: Advocates for victims of human rights violations and ensures accountability of those responsible. 
  • Participation in international fora: Participate in international human rights conferences. 

The High Commissioner is appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and must be an independent and objective figure with no political affiliation. This position plays a crucial role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide.

The Human Rights 75 initiative: objectives and functions

Human Rights 75 is a renewal of the United Nations' commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, highlighting its relevance today and reaffirming its promise of freedom, equality and justice for all.

This initiative aims to take into account the significant advances that have taken place since the adoption of this declaration in fields such as medicine, technology, the environment, social and political expression, economic and labour laws, among others. 

Human Rights 75 is thus an initiative with three main objectives: universality, progress and engagement, under the leadership of UN Human Rights and in collaboration with its partners. This initiative will culminate in a high-level meeting in December 2023, where global commitments and ideas for the future vision of human rights will be announced. 

Iberdrola's Commitment to Human Rights

At Iberdrola, we respect human rights with conviction and always act responsibly towards people, the environment, and the communities in which we have a presence. We therefore work with determination to be a benchmark in this area, which is closely linked to global sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda.

Together, we are building a global corporate culture in the area of human rights. In fact, respecting human rights is an obligation of all Iberdrola's professionals, not only as individual professionals, but also in the exercise and performance of each and every one of our activities.

The main pillar of this culture is our Human Rights Policy, which is reflected in a sustainable and transformative global strategy - driving the energy transition - and in proactive social management, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. 

To develop our Policy, we have a Human Rights Due Diligence System, which is an ongoing process in our Company to identify and manage the risks and negative impacts associated with the development of our operations at all stages. 

This system aims to avoid risks to our company, supply chain and the communities in which we operate by integrating the needs, views and expectations of our stakeholders. To manage adverse impacts, the System includes mitigation processes and plans, as well as grievance and remediation systems.

As a reference, it is important to know that the three most significant HR issues for Iberdrola are those related to:

  • Work placements. 
  • Local communities and indigenous peoples' rights (including environment).
  • Cybersecurity and information privacy. 

In a further exercise in transparency and accountability, in 2022 Iberdrola published the first externally verified Human Rights Report, which shows our comprehensive management and demonstrates our commitment to continuous monitoring and improvement in compliance with human rights.