Now commemorated as Human Rights Day, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted on December 10, 1948, by the United Nations General Assembly. The UDHR declares inalienable rights that all human beings are entitled to regardless of social, economic, political, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or other status. The UDHR is available in more than 500 languages for review and even holds the Guinness World Record as the most translated document! The UDHR establishes the equal dignity and worth of every human being. The UN 2022 Theme for Human Rights Day is Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All.
Ensuring that everyone has basic human rights to lead a dignified life means that everyone has the right to live and let live. Everyone has the right to live in peace on this earth we all call home. Everyone has the right to practice their religion without having to worry about being harmed for it. Everyone has the right to not be discriminated against based solely on their skin color or country of origin. Everyone also has the right to health. This may mean ensuring that people have the right to and equal and timely access to medical care. It may also mean that people should have access to safe and clean water. Having dignity means that certain acts, such as torture, are forbidden.
Sadly, when countries are in conflict, corruption and abhorrent human rights violations may occur. This impinges on human rights and justice. What can be done about this? Freedom as a human right means to be free from torture, forced labor and human slavery. It also encompasses freedom of expression, the right to education and the right to work, amongst many more freedoms. Subject matter experts such as lawyers, journalists and others must work together to to protect the most vulnerable at-risk civilians in wartime, minorities, refugees, and children in need.
So how might one get more involved in human rights research and activism? To begin with, raise awareness of the importance of human rights. Next, thoroughly research politicians running for office and the policies they support and vote for the politician that supports policies that favor human rights. It can be helpful to periodically write to your local and Congressional politicians in support or to advocate against certain proposals going through legislation. You can also organize a local group or join or financially support an existing human rights organization. Finally, speak out against the corporations that are complicit in forced labor and refuse to buy their products.
ICHRRF joins the UN and the comity of nations in observing this world Human Rights Day on December 10th.