Happy Human Rights Day 2010!

Posted: December 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

December 10 is International Human Rights Day. This year this day has been set aside to recognize the work of human rights defenders around the globe acting to end discrimination.

What is Human Rights Day?

This year Human Rights Day marks 62 years since the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”. It is also the day when the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded. In general, it is a day when everyone should stop to reflect on the achievements the world has made so far in promoting and defending human rights, and also to look at the many ways we can still improve on these things.

Want to read more? Click here and here!

Who are human rights defenders (HRDs)?

Human rights defenders are often at the forefront of change with their hands on the pulse of human rights, challenging discriminatory norms and practices, often putting themselves at great risk. A human rights defender could be  someone working in the community to improve the quality of life for those with less access to public resources, someone confronting oppression, someone standing up for their neighbour, someone defending their traditional way of living. In other words, human rights defenders are you and me.

But because the work of human rights defenders often leads to change and challenges systems of oppression and discrimination, these people are often the targets of repression and violence, including, in many countries, that of the very government whose job it is to protect them.

View the live webcast from the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva here.

So, like the group of students in Portugal who declared a toast to freedom in 1961, let’s declare a toast to human rights defenders around the world!

Take action on Human Rights Day

Act now for Saber Ragoubi, Tunisia

Saber Ragoubi was sentenced to death in Tunisia after being convicted of national security and terrorism-related charges, which he denies. His trial was unfair and he was convicted on the basis of a “confession” he said he was forced to make under torture.

Living outside their lands, the communities are not able to carry out their traditional activities, such as fishing, hunting and gathering honey, which are essential to their way of life. Their survival is at risk.

Lithuanian parliament must reject homophobic law

On 16 December, the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) will vote on a draft law that would punish the “promotion of homosexual relations” with a fine of between 580 and 2,900 Euros.

Authorities must ensure access to reparation for survivors of war rapes in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Fifteen years on thousands of women who survived war crimes of sexual violence committed during the armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina are still suffering in silence.

Protect indigenous rights in Brazil

Thirty-five Guarani-Kaiowá Indigenous families of the Laranjeira Ñanderu community, including around 85 children, are living in makeshift shacks by the side of the busy B-163 highway in Mato Grosso do Sul.

End enforced disappearances, torture and political killings in the Philippines

Hundreds of activists and political dissidents have been forcibly disappeared over the last 10 years in the Philippines.

The rape and sexual abuse of girls in Nicaragua is widespread, yet the government is failing to address this hidden human rights emergency.

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