Human Rights day is observed internationally every year on December 10th to commemorate the day when the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Can you imagine hundreds of world leaders from over 58 countries, all speaking different languages coming together after the suffering and the destruction that followed the end of World War II and finding in common agreement that a certain set of Rights were bound to our humanities? No matter where we are, no matter where we were born, no matter who we are, just by the fact that we are human beings those rights are ours. Back in 1948 only 48 countries voted in favor of the UDHR and call in it an “universal declaration” was a pretty bold statement if you ask me but in 1993 at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, over 150 countries once again re-affirmed their commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today there are 463 different translations of UDHR out there.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
Those are powerful words and looking back at the time the UDHR was signed I am sure no one could anticipate what would become of it, the multiple discussions it would start, the international agencies it would give life to, the international treaties, covenants, protocols and declarations that it would inspired or the impact it would have on those groups that at the time were not even part of the discussion or considered direct beneficiaries of its effect, you know, the “other” humans.
On September 5th, 1995 then first lady of the United States Hilary Clinton stood at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing to remind the world that Women Rights are Human Rights “it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights”” she said to delegates from over 180 countries. As Secretary of State for the U.S. Hilary Clinton stood once again in May of 2011 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva to affirm something that shocked many “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.” she said, Is it true?
Well yes, and it needed to be said. LGBT lives historically have been, and in many places, still are devalued; for many LGBT Rights and Human Rights are distinct and separate from each other, they accuse us of wanting a special set of rights, of creating new rights, of taking rights of others away. In reality all that we want is the same kind of rights and dignity everyone else is unquestionable recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the same kind of human value everyone else gets. Many limit LGBT issues to marriage, ID card, sex reassignment surgery, adoption, etc. When in fact the Human Rights of LGBT persons go beyond that, the right to live a life free of violence, the right to be free of discrimination, the right to an identity, the right to be free, the right to start a family, the pursuit of happiness, just like everybody else’s.
From where we stand today in the world we still don’t recognize many minority groups (the LGBT community included) as equals, as citizens, as people. We referred to these groups as “the others” in a way dehumanizing them/us with our speech. I am a fierce advocate for the Human Rights of LGBT persons, of women, of children, people with disabilities, refugees, and not special rights, just Human Rights that we need to guarantee and address according to each person’s specific needs. Let’s all become advocates of human Rights when we promote children’s rights, women’s rights, racial and religious minorities’ rights, LGBT rights let’s not forget that a threat for the rights of some is a threat for the rights of all.