December 4, 2008 Law Library of Congress to Celebrate 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Leon Scioscia (202) 707-1496

When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 it was proclaimed “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.” It challenged individuals and societies to “strive by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.” To date, the Declaration has inspired more than 60 human-rights instruments, which together constitute an international standard of human rights. The Law Library of Congress will celebrate the 60th anniversary of this groundbreaking document with a panel discussion titled “An Aspirational Illusion or a Blueprint for Continuing Reform?” This special event will coincide with the international community’s annual celebration of Human Rights Day on Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Law Library’s Multimedia Center, located in Room 240 of the James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public but seating is limited and advance reservations are suggested (202-707-9834, ADA accommodations must be requested five business days in advance by calling 202-707-6362 (voice/TTY) or “We hope to explore the legacy of the Declaration and the inspiration it has provided for the growth of a large number of human-rights instruments and the incorporation of human-rights standards in the constitutions of many countries in the world,” said Kersi B. Shroff, assistant director of legal research in the Law Library of Congress who will moderate the program. Panelists include M. Douglass Bellis, deputy legislative counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Office of Legislative Counsel; Folabi Olagbaju, director of Amnesty International USA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Office; Frederick S. Tipson, director of the Washington office of the United Nations Development Programme; and Andrea Worden, general counsel and senior advisor on Criminal Justice for the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its Web site at and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at Founded in 1832, the mission of the Law Library is to make its resources available to members of Congress, the Supreme Court, other branches of the U.S. Government and the global legal community, and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of law for future generations. With more than 2.6 million volumes, the Law Library contains the world’s largest collection of law books and other resources from all countries and provides online databases and guides to legal information worldwide through its Web site at


PR 08-228
ISSN 0731-3527