December 10, 2023, marks the 75th anniversary of the universal promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly through resolution 217A during its third session in Paris on December 10, 1948.
It was a torn and destroyed world after WWII, that was reeling after the destruction, death and mass murder of an estimated total of 70–85 million people, men, women and children.
There were only approximately 2.3 billion people globally in 1940 and about three percent of them were needlessly killed by the incredible destructive force of the human species. As of 2021, the world’s population is 7.888 billion.
The bitterness, hatred, anger, violent death and destruction unleashed by the human species 83 years ago made humans the deadliest and most vicious creature to ever walk the earth. Humankind is perhaps the most flawed species ever to evolve from prehistory to the present.
This global evil that humans brought upon themselves awakened in the survivors of the war, people of conscience, to establish the true noble dignity of the human person that was so savaged and damaged by the hatred and violence that arose from racist discriminatory urges of one nation against another.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights laid down the rights and dignity and the equality of every living human and it was offered to humankind and every nation to accept, respect, ratify and implement, or not. We can see in the world today that many nations have embraced these principles and the rights of their people, but many have done so in word but not in deed. Among political leaders, hypocrites and corrupt politicians proliferate.
However, there are some nations and leaders that have accepted and believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and strive to implement and respect them.
In the preamble to the Declaration, it is stated that the “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world and that 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.”
Violence, war and barbarous acts in West Asia, Ukraine, Middle East are a total disregard and gross violation of these rights. There can be no grievance on either side used to justify any violation against any person.
The first article of the Declaration lays down clearly the truth and right to be upheld by all humankind. It says “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”
Not only is the right to equality declared but the rights are for all and everyone, “without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
Yet our world is in a state of upheaval where daily we see nations invade, land grab and occupy another by force and fear. They displace the original inhabitants and rule with discrimination and force.
The Declaration says in its preamble that when people are deprived of their rights and dignity and lands, they tend to rebel and fight back against tyranny. “Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”
So only with the rule of just laws and the implementation of them without fakery, connivance, manipulation and delay based on manufactured evidence, will rights be all the more respected and upheld.
Many rights campaigners have been unjustly jailed and they have been deprived of their human rights. This must change and justice must be done. (Fr. Shay Cullen) – (123rf)