This Day In Jamaican History

On This Day In Jamaican History: Hugh Shearer addresses the United Nations

Written by Staff Writer

On October 8, 1962, Hugh Shearer delivered Jamaica’s first United Nations address. He called for an international year of human rights.

To quote from Hartley Neita’s Hugh Shearer: A Voice for the People:

“It was, and still is, customary at the United Nations for addresses by the representatives of governments to be given generous applause. But as Shearer … walked from the podium … the applause which began as a polite exercise slowly increased in tempo and decibels as the tremendous significance of the proposal for a celebration of human rights registered … delegates left their seats to crowd the Jamaican delegation and Shearer, genuinely congratulating him on his presentation and promising support for the extraordinary, and possibly controversial, proposal on human rights.” A year later the UN designated 1968 the International Year of Human Rights. [1] In terms of actual results, this was probably the most important UN speech ever made by a Jamaican.

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Staff Writer