10th December 2007
International Human Rights Day falls on 10th December 2007. The Day is in honor and remembrance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.
To quote the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 'All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.'
In the five decades that have gone by following the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world has been witness to landmark redressal of several incidences of human rights violations. This has been possible due to the powerful network of Human rights institutions across the globe which has established the predominance of basic human rights when such values have been eroded. Ban on 'Apartheid' in Africa, prohibition of 'Child Marriage' and the abolition of the inhuman practice of 'Sati' in India, are some of the shining examples in the world, where human rights endeavors restored basic rights of the deprived.
Amnesty International and Health watch are popular organizations that constantly watch out for the violation of human rights across the world and take up the causes in a timely manner. Their effective network of NGO's across the world engage in extensive research, initiating action that focused on the cessation and prevention of human rights abuse.
Human rights for women, children, refugees, soldiers, AIDS victims, and discrimination based on caste, creed, religion, color are just a few of the human rights issues addressed by such organizations.
A Peek Into Some of the Causes Of Human Rights:
Unfairness abounds in the treatment of several issues surrounding women. Despite the advances made by several human rights initiatives, this social epidemic is still prevalent. Marginalization of women, violence, physical abuse, sexual abuse, discrimination and inequality has always been the siblings of many women, in different parts of the world.
In many parts of the world, women are coerced into marriage at a young age. They are not allowed to participate in any decision making even in their own matters. Human rights activists have vehemently fought against such issues to remedy the gross violations of women's rights and restore the dignity of women.
It is because of such endeavors that the world has woken up to the cruelties of female feticide or the discrimination against 'female' children still rampant in many parts of India. Education for the girl child to enable equal opportunities and do away with stigma based on sex is a crucial initiative of women rights activists.
In a world, where 33 million people are living with HIV, abuse of human rights of HIV afflicted people is the curse of many patients through out the world.
Human rights activists engaged in the establishment and restoration of human rights to the AIDS victims have focused on creating awareness to put an end to the stigma and discrimination experienced by the victims.
The objectives in this area are:
- Enhance prevention strategies in deficient areas
- Take up the cause of HIV infected immigrants and prisoners
- Ensure the availability of anti-retroviral drugs
- Fight for Equal rights for HIV victims
- Fight discrimination of HIV victims at work places
- Establish equal opportunity for Victims
Fighting Caste Discrimination
From time immemorial, caste discrimination and racism have been deeply embedded in the psyche of people. Caste based discrimination is still prevalent in parts of Bangladesh, Japan, Sri Lanka India, Nepal and many African states. Many villages in India are still divided about caste based issues.
The present problem plaguing the Dalits or the so-called 'untouchables' believed to be in the last rung of a strict caste system, has attracted the attention of human rights activists.
A popular news agency has branded this problem as 'The Hidden Apartheid' affecting about 240 million Dalits residing in the south of Asia. Advocating basic human rights and abolition of any form of discrimination in the name of caste, activists have been up in arms against the abysmal circumstance of these people, who work like slaves, are denied lands, and are constantly abused by people of the higher caste.
Cause of Children
The Children's Rights Activists across the globe take up the violation of human rights of children passionately. The networks of NGO's conduct investigations of injustice meted out to children. As children rarely come out and speak for themselves, such organizations are geared to function in a proactive manner, in order to attract worldwide attention on issues involving children.
Child labor in parts of India and china, violence and injustice against street children, child sexual abuse, physical abuse, child marriage, corporal punishment in schools, children as soldiers, child trafficking are some of the immediate preoccupations of child rights activists throughout the world.
The goal of all child rights endeavors is to ensure that no child is discriminated against and the basic rights of education, health facilities and a supportive environment be provided to all children irrespective of caste, religion, color, sex or status.
Burning human rights issues in the world
The imminent issues concerning advocacy of human rights hovers around everybody's right to life. In the context, human rights initiatives have begun to establish the unfairness of death penalties the world over. These endeavors have prompted the UN to call for a Global moratorium on Death penalties in The United States.
The injustice meted out to Malaysians of Indian origin, who had staged a public protest championing for equal rights at par with ethnic Malaysians, is currently a simmering human rights issue. 31 protesters were arrested for engaging in a public protest and were denied bail, in a gross violation of basic legal rights.
The detention camp at the United States Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba is now in the eye of the 'human rights' storm. Many hundreds of detainees from different nations have been holed up since five years without charge and a fair trial. There is an outcry amongst Human rights bodies who have labeled this the worst form of human rights violation.
More action on this is expected in the days to come.