Celebrating Universal Human Rights Month

December 8, 2023 | Adam's Camp Blog, Advocacy, Resources

December is Universal Human Rights Month. Celebrated annually, it is a dedicated time to spread awareness about the human rights of all people. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, established in 1948 by the UN, provides the basis for this international observance.

The goals of Human Rights Month are universal but often focus specifically on those whose human rights have been inequitable. This includes groups like women and girls, people of color, impoverished people, the LGBT+ community, and of particular relevance to Adam’s Camp, it also expands to people with disabilities.

Spreading awareness is one of the primary goals for Human Rights Month. However, its central purpose is to determine ways that our society can continue expanding universal human rights. In today’s blog, we’ll go over the history of Universal Human Rights Month, as well as share ways that you can advocate for universal human rights.


Human Rights Month: A Brief History

Human Rights Month began as just one day dedicated to the subject. This day, aptly named Human Rights Day, still takes place every year on December 10. In 2001, the observance was expanded to Human Rights Week, and eventually, that became Human Rights Month. This is what we celebrate today: a month-long observance dedicated to furthering the human rights of people worldwide.

Every year, the UN establishes a theme for Human Rights Day. This provides a central idea to focus on when thinking about human rights advocacy. The theme for Human Rights Day 2023 is “Freedom, Equality and Justice for All.”

So how do Human Rights Day and Universal Human Rights Month apply to people with disabilities? Due to its focus on human rights for all people, the goals of Human Rights observances certainly cover our community.


human rights month

The Human Rights of People with Disabilities

The fight for basic rights for people with disabilities has historically been challenging. Legal rights for people with disabilities don’t date back very far, breaking significant ground only as far back as 1975.  The Americans with Disabilities Act is the most comprehensive piece of disability legislation that the United States has. While it may feel like these laws have been around for ages, it was established less than 34 years ago. Adam’s Camp is older than The Americans with Disabilities Act.

All this to say, while it’s great that disability rights have expanded recently, there is still work to be done. Human Rights Month is just one opportunity to intentionally focus on the human rights of people with disabilities.

It might be uncomfortable to think about, but disabled people face significant challenges in gaining basic human rights. They may have a harder time accessing the liberties that non-disabled people take for granted. That’s why including the disability community in Human Rights Month is so important.

Creating the space for disability self-advocacy is always a point of focus during observances like these. We bring up self-advocacy for good reason: it’s imperative for both progress in society and for each individual’s self-esteem. A common theme in disability history (and today) is those with disabilities being spoken over by those without them. Disability self-advocacy is one of the best ways to combat this harmful (even when well-intentioned) injustice.

You can read a more comprehensive history of the ADA and disability rights on our blog.


human rights month

Prioritizing Human Rights for Everyone

Some things to think about during the month of December this year are: your own sense of human rights as well as the human rights of your loved ones.

How are they similar?

How do they differ?

What can you do to effect positive change?

Wondering about some specific ways to celebrate Human Rights Month? You’ve made a great start by educating yourself on the history of human rights. But for a more direct impact, get involved in your local community. This could include advocating for policy change or furthering equality in spaces where you have the agency to do so.

Societal changes start small, so any and all efforts play an important role. One way that you can contribute to the expansion of human rights every day is by simply listening to people whose rights have been historically limited. Or if you are a part of one of those communities, reflect on your unique perspective and how you can use it to lift others up alongside yourself.


human rights month


At Adams Camp, we understand the importance of universal human rights. This month, spend some time to reflect on the history of human rights and consider ways we can work to expand them in our community.

The Adams Camp mission is to realize the potential and develop the strengths of children, youth, and adults with disabilities. We do this through unique adventure and therapy programs with the help of committed counselors, therapists, and volunteers who all work together to create a safe, fun, and supportive environment for people with disabilities.

We are always open to starting a conversation – please reach out to us with any questions you may have about what we went over today, how we support our community, or how you can get involved.

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