International Human Rights Day Message – 10 December 2023

By Published On: 10th December 2023

On this day, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) reminds South Africa and the world, to Embrace Equality and Defend Human Rights.
Every year on the 10th of December the world commemorates International Human Rights Day. It remembers the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. The UDHR stands as an important document which is both aspirational in nature and serves as a basis for us to judge the actions of states. Human rights around the world are under threat and it is imperative for us to ensure that the hard-won victories are not rolled back.

In 1948 Eleanor Roosevelt remarked: “The world at large is aware of the tragic consequences for human beings ruled by totalitarian systems.” It seems that we have forgotten these lessons as we see the rise of right-wing governments emerging across the globe. In Africa alone, we have armed conflict in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. There are over 40 million people displaced on the continent, with some 3.2 million being displaced this year alone. And in these conflicts, we see the most flagrant disregard for human rights.

International Human Rights Day is a moment for us to pause and to remember the millions of people around the world who fight for their rights and the rights of others. At the same time, it is a reminder to us that work needs to be done. More than ever before it is necessary for us to affirm the human rights of all people, to uphold those rights and to ensure that always and everywhere they are respected.

Date: 10 December 2023
Main themes: Embrace Equality, Defend Human Rights

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