December 10 is International Human Rights Day. The date was chosen to honor the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly. The adoption of the Declaration was largely a response to the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany during World War II. The Declaration was the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the then-new United Nations.
The idea of universal human rights is a relatively new one in human history. The concept dates back 18th century Europe and the United States. The concept of human rights has special importance for many humanists who feel that a humanist focus on this life (as opposed to a speculative afterlife) gives greater impetus to create just social relations in the present. The concept is also important to Pagans, who as a religious minority, are more likely to be victims of discrimination and hate crimes.