Human Rights Day is observed every year on the 10th of December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document set out the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being. Many countries are committed to its core principles and have legal frameworks which embody them.
Defending our human rights
More than 1000 human rights defenders were killed, harassed, detained, or subjected to smear campaigns and other violations in 2016. The number rose in 2017 and we lost people such as:
Jennifer López – a trans activist who campaigned for the rights of the LGBTQI community in Ometepec in Guerrero state. The well-known activist was murdered in May.
Efigenia Vásquez Astudillo – a journalist for Renacer Kokonuko, a community radio station operated by the Kokonuko indigenous group. She was shot while covering clashes between the police and local community members.
Gauri Lankesh – a prominent human rights journalist, critically outspoken on India’s caste system, and on rightwing Hindu nationalists, was shot.
Human rights are important
The principles enshrined in the Declaration are as relevant today as they were in 1948. It is important that people all over the world get a chance to live their lives with these inalienable rights and gain knowledge about them. These rights help us build confidence in ourselves and also help us appreciate the need to respect and care for others. Human rights are worth protecting in countries where they are being eroded and violated.