Human Rights Day

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Human Rights Day 2022

Human Rights Day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 54 years ago on December 10 to proclaim the rights all humans are entitled to regardless of their background or status. This year the UN’s 2022 theme is Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All. Although Anera is non-political, our community of supporters and donors help individuals and families in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan achieve a greater level of autonomy and freedom (economic, educational and social). This creates a more dignified environment and life for individuals caught in situations beyond their control. Read their testimonies below.

“My mother enrolled me in this program that protects minors by educating them. She is doing everything she can to avoid my getting married anytime soon.”

Hala is a teenager in northern Lebanon who is in Anera’s Sama Project, which pays families stipends that allow them to better support and keep their girls in school rather than marrying them off at an early age.

“We do Model UN each year but struggle because of the lack of space. Now, with the expanded building, I have the space to develop my ideas, host other schools, and expand the program.”

Waheba is the head of the English and French departments at the Rosary Sisters School in Gaza. Anera added to the school a new floor with five classrooms.

“The drug shortages have really damaged my physical and mental health. I can’t afford to buy the medicine. And doctors have tried alternatives but they really haven’t helped. Now that I have access to adalimumab again, I can live my life normally.”

Solieman, 24, lives in Gaza and has Crohn’s – a debilitating disease for which he needs regular treatments. Anera delivered his medicine and he is himself again.

“I respond to any fire or explosion in the Beirut metro area. Our ambulances drive with the fire fighting trucks, so we can attend to both fires and injuries. We’ve been suffering from a lack of finances for years, and we have a huge need for new equipment and supplies.”

Mashhoor, a paramedic with the Beirut Fire Brigade, talks of some of the needs Anera helped to fill with a shipment of kits customized for wildfire response and burn injuries.

“I was thinking about how to start this business even before connecting with Anera’s project… Beekeeping is really what suits me. Every day I discover something new about bees and I believe I produce high-quality honey.”

Tahani lives near Ramallah, West Bank. She is a mother of five and the sole breadwinner for her family. Anera’s Women Can program helped her launch a honey business.

Human Rights Day 2021

Today is Human Rights Day, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 53 years ago to proclaim the rights all humans are entitled to regardless of their background or status. And we’re here to say that refugee rights are human rights.

This year the theme focuses on equality and reducing inequalities while advancing human rights. Anera’s supporters provide opportunities to refugees and marginalized communities in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan so that they can access the basic rights to which all humans are entitled. Among those inalienable rights are the right to work, food, housing, medical care and education – all of which are supported by the programs Anera provides.

  • In Palestine, Anera’s supporters have empowered 113 women to launch their own businesses this year and build a support network to connect with other women serving as the primary breadwinner for their families.
  • In Lebanon, we’re combating food insecurity by building greenhouses so that families in Akkar can meet their own food needs and provide fresh, affordable produce for their communities.
  • And in Jordan, the Anera community has helped 99 students get access to remote learning opportunities via laptops with preloaded, comprehensive educational content. As Jordan faces a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, these laptops will ensure refugee youth aren’t left behind.

This is just a fraction of the life-affirming work Anera has undertaken this year. With you by our side we’ll accomplish even more in 2022 to ensure that refugees and vulnerable populations in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan have equal access to their human rights.

Human Rights Day 2020

How much do you know about the intersections of human rights and Anera’s work? Take our quiz to find out!


1. 1948 | 2. True | 3. 66 | 4. 560 | 5. 715

1. 1948 | 2. True | 3. 66 | 4. 560 | 5. 715

Human Rights Day 2019

What is Human Rights Day?

Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10 — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, often abbreviated as the UDHR. Article one of the Universal Declaration proclaims that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

It was a milestone document proclaiming the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world.

What are human rights?

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person… Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt, chairwoman of the UN commission that established the UDHR on Dec. 10, 1948
Eleanor Roosevelt holding up the newly printed English version of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law, general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.

The international understanding of human rights continued to evolve after 1948. In 1966, the UN adopted the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Although the International Covenant was adopted much later, it owes its origins to the same conference that led to the Universal Declaration.

Drafters split their agenda into a declaration (which became the UDHR) and covenants, one of which would become the International Covenant. The Covenant included a right to work, decent living conditions, health and education. This Covenant helped to further enshrine the existence of “positive” economic, social and cultural rights, in addition to the “negative” civil and political rights.

As M.J. Altman at the United Nations Foundation observes,

In many ways, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals unanimously passed by all 193 UN Member States in 2015, which include ambitious goals like no poverty, zero hunger, and gender equality, are the action plan to realize the Declaration’s ideals for everyone, everywhere.

Is development a human right?

In 1986, the UN General Assembly further enshrined economic rights with the passage of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development, which proclaimed that,

“The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.”

Worker at an Anera building site in Gaza.
In Khan Younis, Anera built a much-needed community center, employing scores of workers in a place where jobs are scarce.

Further, the Declaration continued, “The human person is the central subject of development and should be the active participant and beneficiary of the right to development.”

The United Nations further affirmed the right to development at the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development on sustainable development, and in 1993, at the UN World Conference on Human Rights, which passed the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

How does Anera’s work fit within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals?

Anera’s programs are intrinsically linked to many of the human rights enshrined at the UN, as well as the SDGs.


Mohammed, his parents, his nieces and nephews all work in their greenhouse together. Anera provided the greenhouse and farming training to Mohammed and his family in Khan Younis, Gaza.

The Universal Declaration affirms that everyone has the “right to social security and is entitled to … the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for [their] dignity.

According to the Universal Declaration, “Everyone has the right to work,” and, further, that work should ensure “an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

Anera’s vocational job skills training programs in Lebanon and software engineering bootcamps and women’s empowerment and capacity building programs in Palestine are just a few of the ways Anera helps to ensure that people have access to dignified livelihoods.

Health & Emergency Relief

Abu Hossam, head of a Gaza family clinic, says they never close their doors to anyone
Abu Hossam and his wife are famous in their village because their clinic welcomes everyone, at any time of day or night. Anera is proud to support this small local health clinic in Wadi as Salqa, Gaza.

The Universal Declaration says that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of [themself and their family], including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.

Anera’s in-kind program helps get urgently-needed medicines and medical supplies where they are needed most. And our public health awareness sessions help to identify illnesses and educate families about how to maintain health and practice good hygiene despite difficult circumstances.

Anera’s innovative cash assistance program in northern Lebanon uses cash transfers to provide the most direct, efficient and effective method to quickly address basic shelter and other needs.

And when crisis hits in the Middle East, we stand ready to distribute emergency food, blankets, and other urgent relief materials.


In 2019, Anera built six beautiful new preschools in the West Bank Palestinian towns of Bazariya, Deir Al Hatab, Madama, Nassaria, Ni’lin (pictured) and Qibya.

According to the Universal Declaration, “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages.” and “Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality” and “shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups.

Anera’s education programs support young children and youth across Palestine and Lebanon. In Palestine, Anera has built 10 percent of all preschools. In partnership with the Palestinian Ministry of Education, Anera is bolstering early childhood development across Palestine.

And in Lebanon, Anera opens educational pathways for vulnerable youth by providing informal education programs for out-of-school youth, and classes enabling students to reenter formal education. Our vocational programs enable young people to obtain the skills necessary to find stable jobs.




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