Human Rights Day
“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
This year’s theme for Human Rights Day is Youth Standing up for Human Rights. The day aims to celebrate the potential of the youth as constructive agents of change, amplify their voices, and engage a broad range of global audiences in the promotion and protection of rights.
Youth participation is essential to achieve sustainable development for all. Participation in public life is a fundamental principle of human rights. Young people are seeking to participate in all decisions that have a direct and indirect impact upon their wellbeing. They need to be heard to inform more effective decision-making and achieve sustainable development for all.
Youth can play a crucial role in positive change. Young people have always been major drivers of political, economic and social transformation. They are at the forefront of grassroots mobilizations for positive change and bring fresh ideas and solutions for a better world.
Empowering youth to better know and claim their rights will generate benefits globally. Young people are often marginalized and encounter difficulties in accessing and enjoying their rights because of their age. Upholding their rights and empowering them to better know and claim them will generate benefits globally.
Human rights are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as in the absence of human dignity we cannot drive sustainable development. The human rights movement has made great strides in the past, but abuses still occur with saddening regularity.
In the past, and even in recent times, we have seen people being discriminated based on gender, race, colour, religion, and other statuses. These and other violations go against what The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states as outlined in the 30 Articles it contains.
Integrity, even without being fully aware of what The Declaration states, should be a guide to doing what is good and right at all times, knowing also when we have wronged and taking responsibility for it.