Human Rights Day, Eritrea cannot celebrate rights and freedom

Africa ExPress Special Correspondent
Makeda Saba
10 December 2015

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people, …”. These words are from the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States holding a Declaration of Human Rights poster. November 1949
Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States holding a Declaration of Human Rights poster. November 1949

In the Human Rights Day, on 10th December, is a time to celebrate the adoption by the UN General Assembly of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a time to remember the many people, from all over the world, who have given and continue to give their lives in the fight to uphold human rights for all of humanity.

Eritrea Map
Eritrea Map

A year long campaign will be launched commemorating the 50th anniversary of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Both of Conventions further elaborate the principles and the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Eritrea has adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights together with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights are the cornerstone and foundation of the International Bill of Human Rights, setting out civil, political, cultural, economic and social rights that are birth right of all Human Beings.

It took 20 years of activism, labour and global civil right struggle to move from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the establishment of the International Bill of Human Rights and the relevant monitoring infrastructure and the fight is not over and the fight must continue.

At a time when the world is experiencing the biggest asylum seekers and refugee crisis, when walls and fences that were torn down 20 years ago, in Europe are being rebuilt and everywhere we turn new walls and fences are being proposed to keep people out.

Universal Human Rights Declaration
Universal Human Rights Declaration

At a time when the world seems to be slipping back into cold war mode (Russia/USA-NATO and China/USA-Japan) pulling our whole planet ever so deep into spiralling conflict destroying our right and freedoms.

At a time when Human Rights are threatened not only by those who would denounce them on the basis of extremist and absolutist ideologies but also by those who seek to protect us from the practitioners of extremist or absolutist ideologies.

At this time and in this moment is when it is necessary fight harder for Human Rights, and this moment in when it is necessary stand up and fight for our humanity our right.

At this time, this moment is when everybody must remember why Human Rights and in this place all human beings must remember that irrespective of gender; nationality or faith everyone has the right to life; liberty and security of person and be free of slavery or servitude; be free of torture and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment; presumption of innocence and protection from discrimination and many other rights.

All Eritreans at home and all over the world are struggling for the implementation of Human Rights in Eritrea. A tradition that says “Never give up”. A tradition written in blood in the caves in the Sinai desert, when victims of human trafficking wrote: ”this too shall pass”.

Makeda Saba
makedasab@ymail.co.uk

Eleanor Roosevelt reads the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1st Jan. 1948)
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Images Credits:
Eleanor Roosevelt (Courtesy United Nations)
– Eritrea map Eritrea-CIA WFB Map. Wikimedia Commons.
– Poster Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Courtesy Zen Pencils)

 

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