The 10th of December marks the World Human Rights Day, a commemoration declared by the United Nations General Assembly on this exact day 72 years ago when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted.
2020 has proved to be a challenging year for the field of human rights. The COVID-19 pandemic has truly exposed the best and worst of humanity. The devastation that has been caused has left a glimmer of hope in its wake, a chance for humanity to build back stronger & better than before. The United Nations is appealing for all recovery efforts whether social, economic or political, to be done so in a manner where the rights of people are placed at the epicentre.
The world witnessed a rise in racism and xenophobia in 2020 which showed the worst of humanity. Discrimination against individuals based on their race, religion and country of origin became increasingly evident with many of the perpetrators carrying out their discrimination both offline and online. Movements such as ‘Black Lives Matter’ proved that when different cultures merged to fight for human rights, they would not be silenced. It is a chance for the international community to show that the power of the people is stronger than the people in power if cultural diversity is respected and more so, appreciated worldwide.
The pandemic plunged entire communities into economic distress with the extensive lockdowns and measures that were introduced to combat the virus. The grave inequalities that the world is facing were undeniable. Men, women and children were deprived of basic rights. The right to education was disrupted for many as the shift to online learning was only able to be accommodated by families with the necessary means. The right to healthcare was denied because individuals who could not afford it or because countries could not accommodate their ability to handle the soaring infections. For individuals in conflict zones, the pandemic worsened their current situations by disrupting the regular flow of humanitarian assistance and aid into their regions.
The international community has the potential to grow and become an environment where human rights can be guaranteed for all. Sustainable peace-building initiatives are crucial to ensure that the world unites in solidarity with each other. For the sake of the people we have lost, the people who are still present and for the people of the generations to come; multiple organisations, either governmental or not, sovereign States, communities and individuals alike need to step up, carry out actions in good faith and do better than before.
As per the theme chosen by the United Nations for the Human Rights Day of 2020, ‘Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights’, CD4Peace reiterates its mission to advocate for a world where human beings regardless of the labels that categorise them enjoy their sacrosanct rights in a diverse, sustainable and peaceful manner.