Human rights calendar

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

Dates shown for some events may vary for different locations.

Table of human rights events and celebrations
January EventDetails
4 World Braille Day Link to external website World Braille Day marks the birth of Louis Braille, who invented 'braille' - a system of touch reading and writing that uses raised dots to represent the letters of the print alphabet for people who are blind or visually impaired.
FebruaryBack to top
1 to 7 World Interfaith Harmony Week Link to external website This United Nations observance encourages mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue between all religions, faiths, and beliefs. It is celebrated during the first week of February.
13 Anniversary of Apology to Stolen Generations in 2008 Link to external website On 13 February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gave a public apology to the Stolen Generations on behalf of the Federal Government for past laws, policies and practices that devastated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
20 World Day of Social Justice (UN) Link to external website World Day of Social Justice is a day recognising the need to promote efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion and unemployment.
21 International Mother Language Day (UNESCO)   Link to external website Mother Language Day promotes linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism, and encourages the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world.
MarchBack to top
8 (IWD)
3 to 11  (week)
International Women's Day and Queensland Women's WeekLink to external website International Women's Day celebrates women's achievements, and provides the opportunity  to reflect on the challenges that remain. In Queensland, the week-long event recognises and celebrates the achievements of Queensland’s women and girls.
15 National Close the Gap Day This day raises awareness about the gap in health and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians, and that health equality is a fundamental right for all people.
16 National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence Link to external website The National Day of Action is the key anti-bullying event for Australian schools. It is an opportunity for whole school communities to take a stand together against bullying and violence. It is celebrated on the third Friday in March.
21 Harmony Day /International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN) Link to external website Harmony Day is a day of cultural respect for everyone, and its message is everyone belongs . This day is also celebrated as the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
AprilBack to top
6 to 15 April Queensland  Youth Week Link to external website This week celebrates the achievements, vitality and strength of young people aged 12 to 25, and acknowledges their positive contribution to communities.
7 World Health Day (UN) Link to external website Marks the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation in 1948. A priority area of public health concern is highlighted each year.
28 World Day for Safety and Health at Work (ILO) Link to external website International Labour Organization event to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases.
25 International Guide Dog Day Link to external website This day recognises the role guide dogs play in assisting people who are blind or vision impaired.
MayBack to top
15 International Day of Families (UN) Link to external website This annual UN observance is an iopportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families, and to increase knowledge of the social, economic, and demographic processes affecting them. 
16 International Day of Living Together in Peace (UN) Link to external website This United Nations Day is all about accepting differences and having the ability to listen to, recognise, respect, and appreciate others, as well as living in a peaceful and united way.
17 IDAHOBIT Day (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia) Link to external website

Marks the date in 1990 when the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, and is a celebration of sexual and gender diversities.

17 Global Accessibility Awareness Day The third Thursday in May has been designated as GAAD (Global Accessibility Awareness Day) to get eveyone thinking about digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities.
21World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development Link to external websiteThis day provides an opportunity for people to deepen their understanding of the values of cultural diversity, as advanced by the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.
26 Sorry Day Link to external website National Sorry Day is an annual day of commemoration and remembrance of all those who have been impacted by the government policies of forcible removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, resulting in the Stolen Generations. On this day in 1997 the Bringing them home report Link to external website was tabled in the national Parliament.
27 Anniversary of 1967 Referendum Link to external website The 1967 referendum saw over 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census.
27 May to 3 June Reconciliation Week Link to external website Reconciliation week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation effort.
JuneBack to top
3 Mabo Day Link to external website Commemorates Eddie Koiki Mabo and the High Court decision  which legally recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a special relationship to the land—that existed prior to colonalisation and still exists today. This recognition paved the way for land rights called Native Title.
18–24 Refugee Week Link to external website Refugee Week is Australia's peak annual activity to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees, and to celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society. Refugee Week is always held from Sunday to Saturday of the week which includes 20 June (World Refugee Day).
15 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Link to external website Elder Abuse Day is a United Nations designated day when the world voices its opposition to abuse and suffering inflicted on older people. Elder abuse is a human rights violation.
26 International Day in Support of Victims of Torture Link to external website This is a day to pay our respects to those who have endured the unimaginable. Australia is signatory to the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
JulyBack to top
1 Coming of the Light Festival Link to external website The Coming of the Light is a holiday celebrated by Torres Strait Islanders on 1 July each year. It recognises the adoption of Christianity through island communities during the late nineteenth century.
8–15 NAIDOC weekLink to external website NAIDOC week is a time to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
AugustBack to top
1–31 Queensland Multicultural Month This month is the state's largest celebration of multiculturalism, and features events and activities across Queensland that celebrate the state's diversity and different cultures.
1–7 World Breast Feeding Week Link to external website A week which promotes the health benefits of breastfeeding and encourages support for breastfeeding mothers.
4 National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day Link to external website This day celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, has expressed particular concern about the serious and widespread discrimination against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
7–13 Homelessness week Link to external website This week is used to raise awareness of people experiencing homelessness and the associated issues.
9 International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples (UN) Link to external website This is a United Nations observance to draw attention to the problems faced by Indigenous peoples in areas such as human rights, health and education.
12 International Youth Day (UN) Link to external website Youth Day focuses on listening to and engaging with young people.
19–27 Seniors Week Link to external website Seniors Week celebrates the contributions of older people and aims to improve community attitudes towards older people and ageing, facilitate community participation and activity by older people and enhance community connections and inter-generational relationships.
25 Wear It Purple Day Link to external website Wear it Purple has a simple message: you have the right to be proud of who you are. Sexuality or gender identity does not change this. Wear It Purple is a youth-led organisation that works  to support and empower rainbow (sexuality and gender diverse) young people.
20–26 Hearing Awareness Week Link to external website This week raises awareness about deafness, hearing impairments and hearing health. One in six Australians is hearing impaired.
SeptemberBack to top
1 to 30 September Brisbane Pride Festival Link to external website The Festival is a month-long celebration of all things LGBTIQA+, including a rally, march, and Fair Day on 23 September 2017.
4 September Equal Pay Day Link to external website Equal Pay Day falls on a different day each year, and marks the additional time from the end of the previous financial year that women must work to earn the same as men in Australia.
4–10 National Child Protection Week Link to external website This is a time to prevent child abuse and neglect and to ensure the safety and well-being of every Australian child.
5–11 Spinal Cord Injury Awareness WeekLink to external website This week aims to educate the community about spinal cord injury, and promote accessibility in public venues and social inclusion.
13 Anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Link to external websiteby the UN General Assembly The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples affirms the minimum standards for the survival, dignity, security and well-being of Indigenous peoples worldwide and enshrines Indigenous peoples' right to be different.
8 International Literacy Day (UN) Link to external website The United Nations regards literacy as a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning.
10–16 Disability Action Week Link to external website This week aims to encourage positive attitudes towards people with a disability, and promote improved access to the wider community.
28 International Right to Know Day / RTI Day Qld Link to external website Right to Know Day is about promoting individuals' right of access to information and open, transparent governance. Qld marks this occasion as Right to Information Day, in acknowledgment of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld).
OctoberBack to top
1 International Day of Older Persons (UN) Link to external website This day provides an opportunity to recognise the contribution that older people make to their communities, and raise awareness about issues affecting older people.
9–15 Mental Health Week / World Mental Health Day - October 10 Link to external website Mental Health Week aims to raise awareness of mental health and well-being in the wider community. A critical part of reducing stigma and supporting those with a mental illness and their carers is education.World mental Health Day is celebrated on 10 October.
11 International Day of the Girl Child Link to external website This day is  an initiative of UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Its aim is to raise awareness of girls' rights, and to advocate for the adoption and implementation of laws and policies that prohibit and prevent child, early, and forced marriage.
14 International White Cane Day Link to external website International White Cane Day is held around the world each year to draw attention to the mobility needs of people who are blind or vision impaired.
16–22 Anti-Poverty Week Link to external website / International Day for Eradication of Poverty - October 17 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is a United Nations  day to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries.

4th Wednesday in October

National Children's Week Link to external website Children's Week celebrates the right of children to enjoy childhood, and is a time for children to demonstrate their talents, skills, and abilities, as well as focusing attention of the wider community on children, their needs, and achievements.
24 United Nations Day Link to external website This day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the United Nations Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, the United Nations officially came into being.
26 Intersex Awareness Day Link to external website Intersex Awareness Day is an international day of grass-roots action to end shame, secrecy and unwanted genital cosmetic surgeries on intersex children. Intersex people are born with sex characteristics that don't meet medical and social norms for female and male bodies, and suffer stigma and discrimination as a result.
NovemberBack to top
10 Nov to 10 Dec Human Rights Month - Fair and Inclusive Workplaces Human Rights Month is a campaign by the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland to raise awareness of discrimination and human rights and culminates on Human Rights Day (10 December).
16 International Day for Tolerance (UN) Link to external website On 16 November 1995, UNESCO's Member States adopted a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance Link to external website. The Declaration affirms that tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference. It is respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance recognises the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others
20 Transgender Day of Remembrance Link to external website 20 November is set aside as Transgender Day of Remembrance for those people who have died because of transgender hatred or prejudice.
The day raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender, or gender variant people, and the persistence of prejudice against the transgender community.
It is a day to mourn and honour the lives lost in anti-transgender violence, and raise the visibility of transgender and gender diverse members of the community.
20 Universal Children's Day (Anniversary of CROC) Link to external website This event marks the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC) Link to external website. The Convention sets minimum entitlements and freedoms for children  that should be respected by governments and communities. It is a day to promote the welfare of children as well as 'fraternity and understanding between children.'
25 International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women (White Ribbon Day UN) Link to external website Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated 'We must fundamentally challenge the culture of discrimination that allows violence [against women and girls] to continue.
DecemberBack to top
1 World Aids Day (UN) Link to external website World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.
3 International Day of People with Disability (UN) Link to external website
International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is a United Nations sanctioned day that aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.
10 International Human Rights Day (UN) Link to external website Human Rights Day commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
18 International Migrants Day (UN)Link to external website International Migrants Day commemorates the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the International Convention on Protection of Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families.