On December 10, 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations, which held its fifth General Assembly at the Palais de Chaillot, in Paris. In 1985, at the entrance of the forecourt, an engraved slab was dedicated and the esplanade was re-named as the “Court of Human Rights.” Dedicated by Prime Minister Mitterand, it says: “men are born and remain free and equal in rights,” quoting Article 1 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789.

On October 17, 1987, at the initiative of Father Joseph Wresinski, a second slab was sealed at the other end of the square. It reads as follows: “On 17 October 1987, human rights defenders and citizens of all countries gathered in this square. They paid tribute to the victims of hunger, ignorance and violence. They affirmed their belief that misery is not fatal. They proclaimed their solidarity with those who are fighting around the world to destroy it. Where men are condemned to live in misery, human rights are violated. Uniting to enforce them is a sacred duty.” The dedication of this slab is where the World Day of the Rejection of Poverty was launched, celebrated each year on October 17, and officially recognized by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day for the elimination of poverty.

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