Human Rights Day is held every year on the 10th December and commemorates the day when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration was momentous as it followed one of the greatest examples of the violation of human rights in history – Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jewish communities in Europe.
Although this event was, and still is, abhorrent in its scale, magnitude and brutality, the basic rights of humans around the world have been violated throughout history. One of the most prolific examples of this was the slave trade that has persisted, to different extents, across human history.
Another example of human violation includes the persecution of the Muslim Rohingya population who are consistently being denied citizenship and other basic human rights. The Human Rights Watch stated that in 1991 when the Burmese army expelled more than a quarter of a million Rohingya from Arakan State into Bangladesh, ‘(the) Burmese army killed hundreds as soldiers slashed and burned their way through villages to force them out.’
Amid such large-scale atrocities and widespread abuses across the world, Human Rights Day rallies a more concerted global action to promote the timeless principles that the international community has collectively pledged to uphold. Today’s human rights challenges can be addressed through the lens of four main freedoms:
Freedom of expression:
Freedom to express oneself and seek, receive and share information. This is denied to millions of people across the globe and is increasingly under threat.
Freedom of worship:
Freedom to hold whatever beliefs or opinions one’s conscious dictates. Therefore, respect for diversity based on the fundamental equality of all people and the right to freedom of religion must be promoted.
Freedom from want:
World leaders in September adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the aim of ending poverty and enabling all people to live in dignity on a peaceful, healthy planet.
Freedom from fear:
Freedom to live life without fear of tyranny and oppression. Millions of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are a tragic consequence of the failure to fulfil this freedom. Refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, IDPs, and many others affected by their own country’s political, economic, and social instabilities, run from war, violence and injustice across continents and oceans, often risking their lives.
AL-Khair Foundation is committed to address human rights violation across the world. This involves many activities in several parts of the world involving displaced and persecuted communities, such as refugees arriving in Europe and the Rohingya. As thousands of refugees arrive in Europe with the hope to build a better life free from war and conflict, Al-Khair Foundation are on the ground supporting refugees by providing warm clothing and food in Greece, Macedonia and Austria. We are also supporting Rohingya refugees across South East Asia, with recent Qurbani meat distributed in Malaysia, Indonesia and India to the Rohingya residing in each country. We also support livelihood projects across the developing world to empower the most deprived communities regardless of their race, religion, or social status.
In order to promote and uphold human rights across the world, we need to be united in our approach and our commitments to human rights on an individual level. Freedom of all kinds is unbelievably important, and is part of who we are. To live free, to think freely and for these to be supported by legislation and laws is simply amazing. It is therefore unfortunate that these rights are broken, and no action is taken to prosecute the perpetrators. These governments and individuals are not held accountable for their actions, which in itself is dangerous.
Rather than viewing people, communities and the world through the parochial perspective of race, sex or religion, we should view our fellow man and woman as human, nothing more, nothing less. This however is exceptionally aspirational. But UN days like the Human Rights Day at least highlight this and creates debate and discussion that is so desperately needed. All humans should have basic rights protecting their existence.