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World Human Rights Day: A Reminder of Solidarity

Human Rights Day is a day annually observed on December 10. It marks the day in 1948 when the UDHR, or Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that, enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings regardless of race, religion, sex, caste, origin, place of birth, and so on, was adopted. It is the most translated document in the world. According to the United Nations, ‘this year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring Human Rights are central to recovery efforts.’

But what are human rights? Human rights are rights that every human being has regardless of their status, gender, place of birth, race and so on. These are the basic moral principles about human behaviour, and are protected by international law. Human rights are violated through practices such as human trafficking and slavery.

The UN states that Human Rights are central to recovery from the pandemic. The organisation has outlined certain Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs for the same. The goals, namely, are end discrimination of any kind, address inequalities, encourage participation and solidarity, and promote sustainable development.

Discrimination refers to the unfair treatment of a particular group of people based on factors such as their gender, race, religion, ethnicity, age, and so on. This can greatly impact mental health within the community that is discriminated against, limiting their opportunities and resulting in issues like low self esteem. In the COVID world, being a group that is discriminated against can result in lack of access to healthcare, which can be devastating for the entire community. With ending discrimination as a goal of the post-COVID world, the governments would ensure that everyone has access to healthcare and the required resources, and does not face any prejudices.

Inequality is a disparity between different groups in society. This disparity can be brought in due to economic, social, cultural and political differences. By addressing these differences between groups, it would be ensured that we globally fight the pandemic and recover from its impact as one society, and not allow disparities to give certain groups of people unfair treatment while others have an unfair advantage. Bringing in ideals of equality would not only result in resilience, but also would emotionally improve the mindset of several communities which would allow them to thrive in a better mental state and social environment.

Solidarity is a concept that brings people together and reinforces unity. Social solidarity is extremely important, especially in cases such as the pandemic. People need to support each other to be able to get through these difficult circumstances, and without solidarity that cannot be achieved. Moreover, by encouraging participation of different communities to represent their interests, people would feel a sense of belonging to society, which would further reinforce solidarity as greatly help improve the mindset of people, once they know that they are not alone and that there are other people who would fight with them. Participation would ensure that the voices of vulnerable groups are heard, and people can put their heads together to come up with different solutions.

Finally, sustainability talks about using resources in a judicious and controlled manner, as well as be able to uphold a stand. There are certain resources that may be restricted or limited, and it is important for us to be able to consume them in a way that they don’t deplete too quickly, allowing the generations after us to be able to use them, as well as have them in abundance to grow during the post-COVID world.

Therefore, human rights day and the goals outlined by the UN help reinforce our sense of togetherness of community and remind us that every human being, regardless of status or background, deserves respect and these rights must be protected at all costs. Protection of these rights is key to help maintain mental health and have a healthy recovery from the losses experienced due to the pandemic.

Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash