The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) document is 69 years old this year and will mark 70 years next year. The theme for this year’s celebration as enunciated by the United Nations is “Let’s stand up for equality, justice and human dignity”
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to the statement from the UN, this year’s Human Rights Day kicks off a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being — regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.
The UDHR document drafted by representatives of diverse legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration sets out universal values and a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. It establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person. Thanks to the Declaration, and States’ commitments to its principles, the dignity of millions has been uplifted and the foundation for a more just world has been laid. The UN in its statement this year also acknowledged that the UDHR promise is yet to be fully realized but expressed optimism by the very fact that it has stood the test of time which it described as testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice and human dignity.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all. The principles enshrined in the Declaration are as relevant today as they were in 1948. We need to stand up for our own rights and those of others. We can take action in our own daily lives, to uphold the rights that protect us all and thereby promote the kinship of all human beings.
With the hashtag -#StandUp4HumanRights, the UN also reminds us that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all. Human rights are relevant to all of us, every day while our shared humanity is rooted in these universal values. Equality, justice and freedom prevent violence and sustain peace. Whenever and wherever humanity’s values are abandoned, we all are at greater risk. We need to stand up for our rights and those of others.
Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt, the very woman who chaired the historic committee that eventually produced the UDHR document captioned the essence of the universal human rights when she said “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the occasion of Human Rights Day 2017 also said and I quote “Values enshrined in Universal Declaration of Human Rights under assault, must be defended”
He noted that the document was “ was drawn up to cover not only civil and political rights, but also social, economic and cultural rights, in the full understanding that you cannot have development without human rights and you cannot have a full enjoyment of human rights without development – and peace and security depend on both.”
“The Universal Declaration is a commitment, by all States, that they will protect and promote human rights. It is essential that we continue to hold those States to account. But human rights are too important to be left to States alone – too precious to all of us, and to our children.”
The State of the Nation
The Reggae Music Pioneer in Nigeria, Tera Kota sang in his evergreen debut album “The lamentations of Sodom” about how God the creator of the Universe regretted ever creating the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who chose the most unnatural way to satisfy their lustful desires. But today, the same Master of the Universe is crying blood over how the people of Nigeria whom He blessed with the best natural habitat and resources both human and material have turned around to mess up the whole place.
Nigerians have been wallowing under the gallows of bad leadership for ages which the late literary icon, Chinedu Achebe identified as the problem of the country long time ago but the current administration of President Buhari literarily led the people from ‘frying pan to the fire’
The question yet to be answered can be likened to the biblical question which can be paraphrased thus: “Is Buhari our messiah or should we expect another one?”
With all the promises which the APC led government churned out to Nigerians while in their quest to seize power. We were told that our Naira will exchange for one dollar that Boko Haram will be wiped out in 6 months, medical tourism abroad will be a thing of the past, constant power supply etc.
But juxtaposed with the existential reality on ground, those who coined the APC acronym to mean –‘All Promises Cancelled’ may be right after all.
2 years and 7 months of the Buhari administration and with just few months to the kick starting of another campaign for 2019, Nigerians are still facing critical and hard times. High cost of living with dwindling income, spiraling local and foreign debts by the government, selective anti corruption fight, brazen marginalization of a section of the country, nepotism of the highest order and an alarming number of killings which has turned Nigeria to a ‘Bleeding Republic’.
Mr President, Nigerians are suffering and there is too much anger in the land. Make life meaningful for the common man because another name for government is subsidy.
As the Minister of Petroleum, we are still wondering why our refineries are yet to function to optimal capacity and the nation still rely on the importation of refined petrol. Let the government walk the talk by not only fixing the refineries but should cut down the prices of petrol and kerosene.
The power sector has become an octopus with so many heads and fingers but the government can tackle the challenge if the will is there. From generation to transmission and distribution, there is an urgent need for the declaration of the state of emergency in the power sector.
The federal government should also withdraw the license of EEDC in the South East since the company has remained obstinate and adamant in its calculated deal to keep on exploiting the consumers and robbing them of their hard earned money for services they did not render.
In the same vein, we say no to the muted idea of bringing back the toll gates across the country. Collecting tolls from motorists can never do any magic in turning around the cavernous hellholes which our roads have been turned into mostly in the South East and South South.
The hefty sums budgeted for road rehabilitation in the fiscal years all along would have made a difference if those in charge have been sincere. Returning of the toll gates is simply an avenue to make some people richer while the average motorist is impoverished.
Being the first part of the 2017 World Human Rights Day Report of the Civil Liberties Organisation, (CLO) South East Zone presented by the Zonal Chair, Comrade Aloysius Attah
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