This Thursday, December 10, is International Human Rights Day. The day commemorates the moment on Dec. 10, 1948, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Formulated by the then President of the Commission on Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt, the Declaration was adopted three years after the UN was founded in Paris. Over the years, the Declaration has been gradually expanded and specified.
But December 10 is not only commemoration day for the resolution defining those rights that should be enjoyed by every human being, regardless of origin, gender, religion or political beliefs. The day is also an occasion for human rights organisations to take a critical look at the current human rights situation at international level and to draw attention to abuses. Thus, this year's Human Rights Day and thus also the rally on the Römerberg were under the sign of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a symbolic figure of the Iranian human and civil rights movement.
In addition, the Paulskirche, the cradle of German democracy, shines in the evening in blue light. The city of Frankfurt am Main is illuminating the Paulskirche for the fourth time - the first city in Germany to do so. In addition, Munich's Olympic Tower will be illuminated for the first time on Thursday. Wenzel Michalski, Germany director of the human rights organization Human Rights Watch, is happy that this action can also be carried out in 2020 despite all difficulties: "We are glad that in Germany two outstanding buildings in Frankfurt and Munich at once remind us of the challenges in the fight for human rights worldwide," said Michalski. "The campaign is aimed at the general public and will be visible to everyone. It would not be possible without the energetic commitment of our committee members and other supporters in Frankfurt, Munich and throughout the country."
The blue, the color of the United Nations, is provided by Benjamin Coppik of AES Technik. Its illumination is meant to be a sign for human rights, humanity, for peace and solidarity. To let the Paulskirche shine blue is a challenge, because the red sandstone, from which the landmark is built, swallows the blue light. So the spotlights that Coppik and his team positioned around St. Paul's Church had to be turned up quite a bit. The result is impressive and absolutely lives up to its symbolic function.
This way, an impressive sign can be set again this year, which is immensely important, especially in times of increasing intolerance and nationalistic reorientation. Therefore, the committee of Human Rights Watch is happy to be allowed to co-stage the illumination of the Paulskirche for the fourth time. Because Frankfurt am Main, the most international city in Germany united in peaceful everyday life, with over 180 nations from all over the world, has the power, in the line of globally important cities, to send a signal of solidarity for human rights.