The Pursuit of Human Rights

by Tamara A.

It was a year ago today that the uprising in Egypt began. The Tunisian population had already risen up against their oppressors and ousted their president. Some Egyptian politicians were able to predict the influence that the Tunisian rebellion would have on their own country, but it was only about two and a half weeks later that their own president, Hosni Mubarak, was ousted as well. And that was only the beginning of the 2011 protests.

I don’t think anyone at the beginning of last year could have predicted the large scale uprisings that would spread like wild fire throughout the world. 2011 was the year of the protestor. 2011 was the year for global pursuit of human rights. 

If you are like me, I’m still trying to grasp the enormity of what happened (and is still happening) in our world community. I don’t know all of the details of each protest in every country. There is simply too much political activism going on for me to keep up. To be honest, before 2011, I hardly kept up with the news. The world has really opened their eyes to the oppression that has been hidden or just not acknowledged around the globe.

The common theme in these communities: denial of human rights.

From Tunisia to Egypt to Bahrain to China to Mexico, the repressed populations are tired of having their basic rights, the rights that should be inherent in all human beings, stripped from them. The UN’s Declaration of Human Rights includes these in their list as the inherent for all humans:

  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

  • No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

  • Everyone has a right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

  • Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscious and religion.

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

  • Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

  • Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

  • Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory.

  • Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

(This is an abbreviated list. For a complete listing, please visit the UN’s Human Rights page.)

2011 was a great year for the awakening of the worldwide community to the human rights issues that exist in every corner of the globe. Now it’s time to rectify these problems. 2012 will be the year to ensure that these rights are recognized. And we are on board to help.

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