Human Rights Day – Celebrate the Battle for Universal Education
This year’s Human Rights Day motif is ” recovers better – stand up for human rights.” It relates to the global pandemic of human rights that has swept across the globe in the last ten years. A major part of this has been the Western World, which has under gone horrific violations of its people’s human rights. A major reason for this has been the unbalanced and interventionist policies of the mass media which have glamorized human rights abuses around the world. These mass media outlets also have failed to highlight the more favorable aspects of human rights, particularly those benefiting the People of Color in the Global South.
The theme of the International Human Rights Day, ” recovers better – stand up for human rights,” is intended to bring about a broader perspective on human rights and an interest in promoting human rights throughout the world. The call for a “stand up” for human rights will encourage governments and organizations to address problems that have long gone unchecked. This includes issues such as discrimination on the basis of gender, age, ethnicity, religion or political affiliation and the violation of human rights and freedoms. It calls for the mass media to give greater attention to human rights abuses and promote independent reporting on such issues. There is also a call for the media to highlight the rights violations that occur in the name of religion or nationality.
One important element of the theme of ” recovers better – stand up for human rights,” is the call for the affirmation of universal human rights. There is a common theme running through many of the messages that are sent out on the International Human Rights Day. It is that all human beings are equal. They are all entitled to human rights and no one should be discriminated against. Religious and ethnic minorities are denied their right to self determination and their right to maintain their communal harmony.
While the ultimate goal of the World AIDS Day is to bring an end to AIDS, it is also meant to bring awareness to other human rights issues that have been neglected over the years. For example, child labor has been addressed by the United Nations and the world soccer team took a stand against child labor. Yet, in some parts of Africa children work long hours for very little pay. In some areas, young girls are abducted and forced into sexual slavery. There is a continuing problem of child sexual and physical abuse and it is hoped that by the completion of the AIDS Day celebrations more attention will be focused on these issues.
The spirit behind the call for a “stand up for human rights” on Human Rights Day is to bring about change where it is needed most. It is hoped that the efforts made on the day will push forward towards the achievement of true democracy, respect for all human beings, gender equality and the promotion of economic and social progress. It is a hope that the day will strengthen the universal preached ideal of human rights. Children who survive childhood are likely to become successful future citizens.
On the whole, from Africa to Asia, from Europe to Latin America people are optimistic about the potential of human rights and are joining in the celebration on Human Rights Day. They recognize that the day is a crucial time to reflect on their rights and what they can achieve for their people. They join in the celebrations not only as a mark of celebration but as an opportunity to draw together to make their communities stronger and more united. It is hoped that the efforts made on the day will boost confidence between people in their countries and abroad, which in turn will benefit human rights around the globe.
In addition to joining in the celebrations, there are many activities planned as part of the Global Youth Forum, an initiative of UNESCO. This will be the first United Nations World Conference to take place without the involvement of a religious organization. UNESCO has been a consistent critic of the way Christian and other religions have been treated in conflicts and in promoting peace. It hopes to put forth in October, efforts that will demonstrate that a world community is ready to address the concerns of religious and ethnic minorities.
The next Human Rights Day will take place on March 7th. Hopefully the momentum generated by the African nations that have joined in the fight against racism and discrimination will continue to spread beyond South Africa and give others a new impetus to join in the fight against human rights abuses. If not, the world will once again turn its back on those that have suffered and want peace and dignity for all. A United Nations that fails to address these abuses will have no influence on future peace and security in the world.