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Human Rights Day - Women's Rights Are Human Rights - Human Rights Are Under Unprecedented Pressure

International Human Rights Day - 10 December


Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

The Beijing Platform for Action, developed at a 1995 United Nations conference, set an agenda for women’s empowerment and identified 12 critical areas of concern. More than 20 years after Beijing, ShareAmerica assesses global progress in each critical area. This article focuses on women’s human rights.

The movement for women’s human rights has expanded beyond the 19th and 20th century suffrage movements to a movement of women from many different geographic and cultural backgrounds working for social, economic, and political equality.

Women suffer human rights abuses around the world. This mural in Juarez, Mexico, commemorates several hundred women murdered there. (© AP Images)

The United Nations endorses this formula:

  • In 1979, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Often described as an international bill of rights for women, the convention aims to eliminate gender discrimination and promote equality “in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

  • In 2000, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution on “Women, Peace & Security” that affirms the rights of women in conflict zones and in war.

Globally, women have united to ensure women’s human rights are not abused. (© AP Images)

The U.N. and Beijing agreements carry ethical and political weight. Activists and officials cite them to raise awareness about gender-based discrimination, inequality and violence, to justify new policies and laws, and to fight for women’s rights in both the public and private spheres.

Some governments distinguish between “public” and “private” spheres of life, and argue that government may not intervene in the latter. The result can be that domestic discrimination and violence against women and girls remain hidden, or that perpetrators are not punished for their actions.

Women in Rosario, Argentina, conduct a “safety audit” to identify dangerous areas as part of Women in Cities International outreach. (Courtesy photo)


Stand Up for Human Rights, Which Are Under Unprecedented Pressure – UN High Commissioner Human Rights

8 December 2016 - “Unprecedented pressure on international human rights standards risks unravelling the unique set of protections set in place after the end of World War II.” In a statement issued in the run-up to Human Rights Day on 10 December, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also stressed it was within the power of every individual to play a role in pushing back against such pressures, and that many are already doing so.

2016 has been a disastrous year for human rights across the globe, and if the growing erosion of the carefully constructed system of human rights and rule of law continues to gather momentum, ultimately everyone will suffer,” Zeid said.

“Many of us are fearful about the way the world is heading,” he said. “Extremist movements subject people to horrific violence. Conflicts and deprivation are forcing families from their homes. Climate change darkens our horizons. Discrimination, yawning economic disparities and the ruthless desire to gain or maintain power at any cost are the principal drivers of current political and human rights crises. Humane values are under attack –and so many people feel overwhelmed, unsure what to do or where to turn.”

“Many leaders are failing to grapple effectively and honestly with these complex social and economic issues,” Zeid said. “So people are turning in desperation to the siren voices exploiting fears, sowing disinformation and division, and making alluring promises they cannot fulfil.”

“But we have learned, through the bitter lessons of history, that humanity will only survive, and thrive, if we seek solutions together. Human rights were intended to be, and still are, the antidote to all of this: everyone has rights –economic and social rights, as well as civil and political rights and the right to development – and it is time to stand up for those rights, not just for yourself but for everyone else.”

Announcing that on Human Rights Day, the UN Human Rights Office will launch a campaign entitled “Stand up for someone’s rights today,” the UN human rights chief urged people everywhere to defend a system that was designed precisely with the aim of making the world a better place for everyone.

“Human rights are for everyone, and everyone will be affected if we do not fight to preserve them. They took decades of tireless effort by countless committed individuals to establish, but –as we have seen all too clearly in recent months -- they are fragile. If we do not defend them, we will lose them.”

“As well as understanding our own rights, we can make a real difference by supporting others. In the street, in school, at work, in public transport; in the voting booth, on social media, at home and on the sports field. Wherever there is discrimination, we can step forward to help safeguard someone's right to live free from fear and abuse. We can all lobby for better leadership, better laws and greater respect for human dignity.”

“The time for this is now.”

Извор: WUNRN – 10.12.2016



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