11 December 2013 08:56

Commemorated around the world, today is Human Rights Day.
The date was chosen to honour the United Nations (UN) — General Assembly's adoption and proclamation, on December 10, 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new UN.
The formal establishment of Human Rights Day occurred at the 317th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on December 4, 1950.
This year's day is also significant in its celebration of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Events took place at the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva last week and will be held at the New York headquarters today.
The UN General Assembly created the mandate of High Commissioner for the promotion and protection of all human rights in December 1993.
Happenings marking the day in Cyprus include a Monday, December 16 event in Nicosia honouring Cypriot human rights pioneer Alecos Modinos.
Co-organised by the NGO Accept-LGBT Cyprus, the Ombudsman's Office, the European Parliament Office in Cyprus and the European Commission Representation in Cyprus, the Greek-language event will see Modinos honoured for his efforts over the last six decades to promote human rights in general and particularly secure rights for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people in Cyprus and all Europe.
Being held at Famagusta Gate from 6pm, the December 16 event will include the screening of short film on Modinos' life and work and an address by prominent local lawyer Achilleas Demetriades who took the  Modinos cases to the European Court of Human Rights.
Addresses will also be made by Ombudsman Eliza Savvidou, deputy head of the European Parliament Office in Cyprus Alexandra Attalidou, head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus George Markopouliotis and Accept-LGBT President Costas Gavrielides.
A recorded message by EuroMP and Co-President of the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT issues Michael Cashman is to be screened and Modinos will also be speaking at the event.
Modinos in 1993 secured a European Court of Human Rights victory over the Cyprus government. Modinos --who was in a gay relationship at the time - claimed that he "suffered great strain, apprehension and fear of prosecution by reason of the legal provisions which criminalise certain homosexual acts."
Prior to the ruling, the Cypriot government had openly admitted that homosexuals would not be sought and prosecuted but at the same time stated that they would not approve any laws to safeguard the rights of gays and lesbians.


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