December 15, 2020 | Tuesday

Sarah Maliqi: We should reaffirm the importance of upholding human rights

This year on 10 December we mark 72 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a landmark document that has profoundly changed our world. Today, it continues to serve as a “common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations” and as a basis of international law. Human rights are guaranteed to everyone regardless of color, race, sex, language, religion, birth, national or social origin, political or other opinion, or other status.

Every year on this day countries around the world, including Kosovo, celebrate progress and what has been achieved, but also more importantly point out and discuss regressions in the respect of human rights for different communities.

Contrary to current prevailing opinions that this is just another day to mark – this day should be used to reflect on how far we have come. Have we done enough, or what should we do to stop the everyday discrimination of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian people in schools, in shops, at the doctors? How much do we stand up for human rights of LGBTI+ persons? Do we stand in solidarity with women human rights defenders? Do we speak up for victims of domestic violence?

On this day we should reaffirm the importance of upholding human rights, fighting against inequality and injustice; and most importantly commit ourselves to stand up, react, be critical, stay informed and speak up for those who cannot.

The Covid-19 pandemics has exposed structural ineqality and we still do not know its long-term effects. Governments should not use the pandemic as an excuse to repress the human rights and more than ever we should be on the lookout and ready to speak up for vulnerable groups.

Civil Rights Defenders is proud to partner with and support human rights defenders who work in some of the world’s most repressive regions on four continents. Conflicts and violations of people’s basic human rights are increasingly defining features of the world we live in. We believe that a strong and well-functioning civil society is more important than ever, especially at the local level. We challenge politicians, the private sector, and civil society to push harder for progress, and to work together towards a world in which people’s civil and political rights are fully respected.

Sarah Maliqi,

Programme Officer, Civil Rights Defenders