Human Rights Day: A never ending battle against inequality

December 10th is observed as Human Rights Day every year across the world. This day is observed to call attention and highlight the rights that all people possess.

human rights day, UNDP, right to equality

“Equality is the soul of liberty; there is, in fact, no liberty without it.”

These are the famous lines by a Scottish-born writer, feminist and free-thinker, Frances Wright. Equality, as we all know, is not just a concept, it’s not just something we read about in books, or teach in class, but it’s something that we as human beings are entitled to, irrespective of our colour, faith, religion, opinion or language. And today is quite the day to remind ourselves of the very same fact that humanity is born free and equal in every aspect.

December 10th is observed as Human Rights Day every year across the world. This day is observed to call attention and highlight the rights that all people possess. Since the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948, the day has globally guaranteed fundamental rights of all people. This year celebrates the 73rd anniversary of the UDHR and the theme for Human Rights Day is ‘Equality, reducing inequalities, advancing human rights.’ The theme is related to Article 1 of the UDHR which states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

It looks like the theme was chosen with much consideration as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to expose the inequalities of the societies across nations. The Global Nutrition Report (GNR) 2020 called on governments, businesses, and civil society to up their game and tackle injustices in food and health systems. The authors of the report had mentioned that the coronavirus pandemic had exposed the vulnerability and weaknesses of already fragile global food systems. The report also found one in every nine people in the world hungry, while one in three, overweight or obese.

In fact, discrimination on the basis of gender, caste, language, political opinion, religion, are such evils of our society that we see on daily basis and which we know, will continue to exist for a long time in the coming future, but we also know for a fact, that the only way to overcome these evils is by stepping up against them, together.  Emoting the same sentiment, the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, today said that equality is the very soul of human rights. He said that while non-discrimination is the first condition for absolute respect for human dignity, the world is beset with countless prejudices. They, unfortunately, hinder the full realisation of individuals’ potential, and thus are not in the interest of society as a whole.

The President added that Human Rights Day is the ideal occasion for us to ponder collectively and find ways to overcome such prejudices that only hinder the progress of humanity. Kovind also praised the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for their deep concern for the rights of the vulnerable and marginalised sections of society affected by the pandemic, and their efforts in issuing several advisories, which helped in improving the government’s response.

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