The theme of this year’s Human Rights Day lifted my eyebrows up! It is Human Rights 365! The slogan encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. The UN Secretary Ban ki-Moon asked states to honor their obligation to protect human rights every day of the year. He also made a call on people to hold their governments to account.
The theme gave me some food for think. The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. But sixty years after its issue, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still more a dream than reality and still we have to call the states to ensure rights for the humans. I got wondered to know 11 facts about human rights violation (DOSomething.org). It reveals a compilation of human rights violation, occurred in 2014. It says:
- 40 million children below the age of 15 suffer from abuse and neglect.
- Every city with a population greater than 250,000 reports gang activity.
- Approximately 27 million people are currently enslaved in the human trafficking trade around the world.
- More than 300,000 children under the age of 18 are being exploited as child soldiers in armed conflicts worldwide.
- Even though 2/3 of the world has abolished the death penalty, 1,591 people were knowingly executed in 2006 alone. The real figures of executions are likely much higher, 91% of these penalties took place in China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, and the U.S.
- Millions of people are displaced in regions like Darfur where ethnic cleansing and violent conflict occurs. The displaced are forced to rely on humanitarian relief. Humanitarian workers are often kidnapped and attacked, and relief trucks are looted.
- Several governments monitor their citizens’ Internet use and have censored or imprisoned them for freely expressing opinions online. People in China have been arrested and charged for using the Internet as a tool to spread human rights information.
- Armed conflict has killed 2 million children, disabled 4 to 5 million, left 12 million homeless, and orphaned more than 1 million in the past decade.
- There are approximately 246 million child laborers worldwide.
- Protestors of repressive governments across the Middle East and North Africa have been killed, beaten, and arrested by police in the streets for voicing their opinions of reforms.
- Throughout history, women have been denied the knowledge, means, and freedom to act in the best interest of themselves and their children.
That means, despite continuous fight against the violation of human rights, we are still far behind to achieve that. When we use `Human Rights’ as a term, it sounds heavy and it asks extra effort to ensure it. But if we break it as two separate words like- `human’ and `rights’- it becomes simple. States need to count people as `human’ and ensure the `rights’, they are accountable for. Almost every states signed international humanitarian treaties, which make them responsible to confirm rights for every residence. There might be scarce resources but a well and transparent government system can ensure the basic rights for every single people. This is completely a choice of a state. Because human rights are certain civil liberties and political rights, which a state sometimes deny to certify. Human rights are the articulation of the need for Justice, tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity in all aspect. So, to me, human rights is not a complex matter to ensure.
There is a strong interdependence between human rights violations and conflict. Abuse of human rights often leads to conflict, and conflict typically results in human rights violations. Violations of political and economic rights are the root causes of many crises. When rights to adequate food, housing, employment, and cultural life are denied, and large groups of people are excluded from the society’s decision-making processes, there is likely to be great social unrest. Such conditions often give rise to justice conflicts, in which parties demand that their basic needs be met. Indeed, many conflicts are sparked or spread by violations of human rights. For example, massacres or torture may inflame hatred and strengthen an adversary’s determination to continue fighting. Violations may also lead to further violence from the other side and can contribute to a conflict’s spiraling out of control.
On the flip side, armed conflict often leads to the breakdown of infrastructure and civic institutions, which in turn undermines a broad range of rights. When hospitals and schools are closed, rights to adequate health and education are threatened. The collapse of economic infrastructure often results in pollution, food shortages, and overall poverty
These various forms of economic breakdown and oppression violate rights to self-determination and often contribute to further human tragedy in the form of sickness, starvation, and lack of basic shelter. The breakdown of government institutions results in denials of civil rights, including the rights to privacy, fair trial, and freedom of movement. In many cases, the government is increasingly militarized, and police and judicial systems are corrupted. Abductions, arbitrary arrests, detentions without trial, political executions, assassinations, and torture often follow.
In cases where extreme violations of human rights have occurred, reconciliation and peace building become much more difficult. Unresolved human rights issues can serve as obstacles to peace negotiations.
So, I believe that before ensuring human rights for 365 days, it has to be ensured for 24×7. Every second and hour has to be counted to ensure human rights, despite their race, religion and status.