The Arab Federation for Human Rights Urges All to “Stand Up for Someone’s Rights” in Marking this year’s Human Rights Day

The Arab Federation for Human Rights Urges All to “Stand Up for Someone’s Rights” in Marking this year’s Human Rights Day 08 December 2016

The Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR) is delighted to join the international community and the United Nations in celebrating the 66th anniversary of the Human Rights Day commemorated annually on December 10th. It is a day that marks the anniversary (currently 68th) of the establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the first global, widely accepted human rights document which specifies the fundamental rights for all that needs to be protected by everyone around the world.

The 10th of December was declared “Human Rights Day” by the UN General Assembly in 1950 after adopting Resolution 423 (V). The day was chosen to memorialize the UN’s approval of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948 as the principal building block of all basic rights of humans worldwide. All States, NGOs, civil society organizations and institutions, and individuals have to observe this day as the basic ideas of modern day human rights concerns everyone regardless of their gender, racial, political, ethnic or cultural background.

The UDHR has inspired more than 80 international treaties and declarations, a great number of regional human rights conventions, domestic human rights bills and constitutional provisions. Building on the achievements of the UDHR, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights entered into force in 1976. Together with the UDHR, these covenants make up the International Bill of Human Rights. This Bill contains the fundamental rights and freedoms for all and addresses a wide range of concerns such as racial discrimination, enforced disappearances, torture, disabilities as well as the rights of women, children, migrants, minorities and indigenous people. The Bill sets a standard for which one can gauge the amount of respect for and compliance with international human rights laws globally.

This year, the Human Rights Day is celebrated under the worldwide campaign theme “Stand up for Someone’s Rights Today”. This campaign is aimed at getting everyone involved in respecting and speaking up for the rights of someone. Arab Federation for Human Rights views this theme appropriate because the basic rights of many have continuously been infringed in all parts of the globe. Millions have been subjected to gruesome violence and inhumanity due to terrorism and extremist activities. In some countries, the lack of respect for freedom of expression and free press is eminent. Many states undermine human values and dignity, respect for the rights of women and children.

While participating in marking this year’s Human Rights Day, the Federation will like to specifically highlight the situation and suffering of civilians in Palestine, Syria, Yemen and Iraq who encounter violations of their rights daily due to armed conflicts. The Palestinian people have continuously faced racial discrimination, displacement, violence, torture and even murder under Israeli Occupation Forces for decades. Thousands of Syrians have died and millions forced out of their homes while others are trapped in the ongoing conflict between Syrian forces and rebels. Houthis insurgency in Yemen have led millions of civilians to be displaced internally or flee the country. Extremists activities of terrorist groups such as ISIL and many other terrorist groups supported by the government in Iraq is causing many citizens in the country to live in fear. Arab Federation for Human Rights is deeply concerned about the rights to safety and security of all the people in these countries and is strongly appealing to the United Nations and the international community to come to the aid of these civilians. They should make it their principal aim for 2017 to ensure that the rights of these civilians as stated in the Universal Declaration for Human Rights as well as other conventions must be upheld and respected.

Arab Federation for Human Rights reiterates that upholding the rights of all involves everyone. Each of us must learn to take the initiative to standup for our own rights and defend the rights of others when they are not respected. It starts with each of us. Therefore, AFHR is calling on all – governments, NGOs, civil society organizations, businesses, individuals etc. – to use their ingenuity and “Standup for Someone’s Rights” be it a woman, a child, a migrant or refugee, a person with disability, a minority group, indigenous peoples or any other person whose is at risk of being discriminated or violently attacked. It is imperative that the members of the international community fulfill their serious obligations to promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinctions of any kind such as race, color, language, sex, religion, political or other opinions. Yes, together we can all take a stand for each other’s rights and for more humanity.