Sunday 28 April 2024

A Call to Action for Human Rights

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

By Ruth Ajawu

Human rights are fundamental rights and freedoms that every person is entitled to, regardless of their nationality, sex, race, religion, or any other status. These rights are based on principles of dignity, equality, and respect. They encompass civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, ensuring that every individual can live a life of freedom, justice, and dignity.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, serves as a foundational document that outlines these rights, guiding nations and peoples toward a world where human rights are universally recognized and upheld.

The number of people who fully grasp what human rights entail is unfortunately minuscule. This is a result of government suppression, apathy, lack of human rights education, and unstable civil societies.

Government suppression plays a major role in bringing about a deficit in human rights awareness. The government and state actors ought to respect and uphold the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its people. This has hardly been the case as the very people meant to protect, have become the primary perpetrators of human rights violations. They fail to promote and create awareness of human rights and instead suppress the voices of those who do. This brings about a lack of adequate human rights education.

Apathy is also a leading cause of the lack of awareness of human rights. Many people remain impassive and indifferent towards human rights. They do not care to understand or learn about human rights even when allowed to do so.

Furthermore, an unstable civil society plays a role in the lack of awareness. A civil society ought to augment the capacity of the state to protect human rights and help in holding perpetrators accountable for human rights abuses. However, when civil society is unstable, it fails to be fully useful.

Thus, the promotion of human rights falls on individuals. As proactive members of society, we can make a difference through various means:

  • Speaking Out: Exposing human rights abuses and raising awareness.

  • Taking Action: Initiating and supporting petitions addressing human rights violations.

  • Education: Researching and educating others about human rights issues.

  • Supporting Organisations: Donating to and collaborating with organizations championing human rights.

  • Being Accountable: First with ourselves, and then with those responsible for upholding human rights.

Understanding and advocating for human rights is crucial for a just and equitable society. It is not just about knowing what human rights are but actively advocating for them. While challenges may hinder our efforts, it is up to each one of us to make a difference. By taking concrete actions and standing up for what is right, we can ensure that human rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled for all.

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