International Human Rights Day

Lauren Tepper, Staff Writer

December 10 is International Human Rights Day. On December 10, 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This happened after the Second World War because the U.N. wanted to prevent the atrocities that had occurred. The documents were created as a way to define what human rights would be protected universally. The first article states, “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.”

Where do universal rights begin? As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “In small places, close to home–so close and so small they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works; such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. 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.”

Human rights are rights of all human beings regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, or religion. Yet in our world today, major human rights violations continue in the U.S., Venezuela, Yemen, Turkey, Syria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Australia, China, and other countries, which in turn creates a more dangerous world. There must be greater public concern for protection of human rights.

This year’s Human Rights Day theme is “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights.” We need to stand up for our rights and the rights of others. Equality, justice and freedom sustain peace and prevent violence. Young people can change the world for the better. We are the drivers of change for a better future toward creating a better world. We can all make a pledge now to respect the rights of others, stand up when anyone’s human rights are undermined, raise your voice, take action and use your rights to stand up for others’ rights. Human rights are humanistic and teach us goodness and respect to others. “Commit yourself to the noble struggle for human rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country and a finer world to live in.” – Martin Luther King.