How fitting that in the year the Olympics take place in communist China it is also the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Viewers of the Olympics will be like some NASCAR racing fans, not watching for the beauty and skill of the event but looking for the car wrecks and crashes. However, when it comes to China, we are talking about human rights and free speech, not tricked out Pontiacs crashing into concrete barriers.
How fitting that in the year when a Canadian Prime Minister finally apologized to Aboriginals for the atrocities of past Canadian governments, through the residential school program, we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
How fitting that in the year when innocent Iraqi civilians are still dying in the crossfire between insurgents and coalition forces, children are getting killed in Afghanistan via the hands of more coalition troops and Taliban, Palestinian suicide bombers and the Israeli military still add to their death tolls and an ignored genocide in Darfur continues to unfold, we are still celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Last summer Nelson Mandela brought together a group of dedicated individuals together – ex heads of state and Nobel laureates – to work on solving global issues. His hope for the new group called The Elders, is for them to “speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken”.
“There are so many issues in dire need of attention right now, but human rights ties them all together,” explains Carly Scott, Every Human Has Rights campaign team member. “The Elders launched the Every Human Has Rights campaign to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and celebrate human rights as that common thread that weaves our struggles and our victories together.”
It incumbent on all of us to learn about how the fundamental rights we enjoy and take for granted in the West are no where near as easy to enjoy for others around the globe. While you are downloading the latest widgets for your iPhone, looking at the Old Navy catalogue or buying new rims for your Honda Civic, remember how lucky you are. Remember you are enjoying freedoms and rights some people cannot even fathom because they are just trying to survive the day.
Visit http://www.everyhumanhasrights.org/ to learn more about The Elders and sign the human rights declaration. Take the time to see what some of your fellow worldwide neighbours are working on in order to better their lives and those of their families.
Most things at 60 tend to start to look weathered and that definitely applies to human rights around the world. There is a challenge every day for human rights to shine through oppressive hands and regimes. Get involved and prove that 60 can be beautiful and prevail, prove that human rights are fundamental to everyone and that Every Human Has Rights.