Skip to main content
From the field

International Human Rights Day - 10 Dec. 2018

B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad receiving the 2018 Human Rights Award of the French Republic,10 December 2018

"I ask myself often, imagine we, the international community today, would have to establish such a declaration on human rights.  Would we manage that?”, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, asked last week. “I fear, not."

Today, December 10th, International Human Rights Day, we mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This might have been a day of celebration, but given the state of human rights all over the world, I prefer Chancellor Merkel’s sober remarks.

Today, International Human Rights Day, is the day we ask you to join the human rights community. We invite you to join us in our work by contributing to B'Tselem. Every contribution, even a few dollars, will not only allow us to continue our work, but also to know that behind us stand people who believe in the values of human rights.

When millions are not “free and equal in dignity and rights” (Art. 1 of the declaration);  “the right to life, liberty and security of person” (Art. 3) is under constant attack without “effective remedy by the competent national tribunals”  (Art. 8); people are “subjected to arbitrary interference with [their] privacy” (Art. 12), have no “right to freedom of movement” (Art. 13) or the “right to a nationality” (Art. 15); when people do not enjoy “the right to freedom of opinion and expression” (Art. 19) and certainly do not “take part in the government of [their] country” (Art. 21) -  when this is the reality, it is not just the issue of the UDHR’s power and vision that comes into sharper focus, but also the suffering and oppression caused by the utter disregard for it.

Today, together with our colleagues at Palestinian human rights organization, Al-Haq, we receive the Human Rights Award of the French Republic. The values both organizations share are the values of the UDHR, values that lay the groundwork for a life of dignity, of equal rights, of freedom and justice for us all. The fight to realize these values is long and bitter. Will we prevail?

As the UDHR states: “it is essential [...] that human rights should be protected by the rule of law”. If we are to continue our work, we need your help. This year, we have once again shown that despite the efforts made by the prime minister and his cronies, we speak up for human rights loudly, clearly and fearlessly - in Israel, in the Occupied Territories and throughout the world. Supporting B'Tselem is the practical way of validating the values we believe in.

Will we prevail? The answer lies with each and every one of us.

Thank you,

Hagai El-Ad
Executive Director, B'Tselem