maThe Rarely Implemented Committments
(63 Years with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
HRLHA Press Release – December 10, 2011
Today, we are celebrating the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We have learnt from history that the evolution of the essence of human rights stretches back more than 2500 years, when men and women fought and died for basic human freedoms. Beginning from those days, the idea of human rights was perceived differently by different nations; until it was recognized as a universal notion of “International Human Rights”, which belongs to all human beings by the virtue of being born as humans.
The next step taken towards affirming the idea of human rights was to define human rights as a common purpose for all human being without distinction of any kind such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. After a debate of more than two centuries, the essence of “human Right” was fully recognized as a universal issue when the United Nations Organizations officially came into existence in 1945, following the end of the second World War, in order to save the succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime brought untold sorrow to humankind. The principles of the UN Charter were based on the fundamental human rights, human dignity, and worth of human persons, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations.
At its early stage, within less than three years, for the first time in history, on 10 December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document considered to have a universal value (“a common standard of achievement for all people and all nations”); and since then, December 10 is celebrated every year worldwide as Human Rights Day.
Since December 10, 1948, our leaders have made a huge number of commitments on our behalf. They signed and ratified a lot of international covenants, conventions, and treaties that covered a wide range of rights and aimed at ensuring the honoring of rights to which all human beings were entitled. Had all those commitments were met, our world would have really been different, and the world peoples could have had a peaceful, stable, and comfortable life, our legal systems could have been fair enough to offer everyone the same and equal protection; and we could have had transparent and democratic political systems that would serve the interests of the ordinary citizens.
Sadly enough, what we see today after 63 years of the UDHR is the reverse of what were written in those documents. “What went wrong?” might be everyone’s question that needs to be answered. The world peoples, on behalf of whom those treaties, agreements, commitments, etc. were made, are still entitled to know the root causes of those failures, and to make sure that they would be fixed.
Among the many distinctly noticed shortcomings in regards to the realization of the UDHR is the lack of absence of genuine political commitment and willingness from the world leaders to abide by and implement the international human rights standards and/or treaties they have ratified and signed on behalf of the citizens of their respective countries. Such negligence and irresponsibility have been and are being exercised by our world leaders in the face of the ever expanding, deepening, and worsening socio-economic and political crises, injustices, inequalities, instabilities, insecurities, and the like, most of which are perpetrated against ordinary citizens by their own governments. Although their presence and effects are very high in what are known as developing countries, such socio-economic and political ailments have become borderless, thanks to “globalization”.
Faced with such global challenges that are threatening the existence of not only the present but also the future generations, all stakeholders – national, regional and/or international, groups and/or individuals, big and/or small – need to reconsider the routes we have been following. The UN and all its sub-agencies in particular are expected to play a leading role in this regard. Accordingly, coming back to the implementation of the UDHR, the HRLHA would like to recommend the United Nations renew its commitments monitoring, investigating, and exposing all forms of human rights violations, and ensuring that the perpetrators are held accountable.
HRLHA is a non-profit and non-political organization (with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Special Consultative Status) that attempts to challenge abuses of fundamental rights of the peoples of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It is aimed at defending basic human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and organization. It is also aimed at raising the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and that of others. It has intended to work on the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.