By Gregg Casazza – 1851 Staff
Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10 and it was originally to celebrate the accomplishments of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It now highlights how much work needs to be done for human rights.
The UDHR is a 1948 document outlining fundamental human rights which are universally protected. Even though the United States signed on with this document, the country was still largely segregated, and many of the rights outlined in the document were not being upheld at that time.
With significant advancements like women’s right to vote, desegregation, and same-sex marriage, many view the fight for human rights to be over. This idea could not be further from the truth. There is still much to be done in regards to human rights for all, especially when looking at the issue from a global perspective.
For many marginalized groups huge changes are needed to ensure equality and in many cases safety. There are gay concentration camps in Chechnya, where gay men in Russia are being illegally detained and tortured. In places like China, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, there is still a death penalty for people convicted of apostasy, blasphemy, adultery, or same-sex relationships.
Reproductive rights, trans rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights are still lacking worldwide. Even though events like the Women’s March and the Black Lives Matter movement have been largely successful in raising the public consciousness to these issues, more needs to be done.
We need to become a more globally conscious society, one which does not rest until there truly are human rights for all. In November, Australia legalized same-sex marriage, a landmark decision and one which proves how much still needs to be done. When you live in your own bubble of privilege, it is easy to miss the fact that there are others who are not quite so lucky.
So what can someone do to fight for human rights? For starters, we must not take these rights for granted, we must acknowledge the difficult battles fought for these rights, the fight is still being fought, and continue to forge ahead for more. People have to stand up for injustices and work to fix them, speak to representatives, attend protests, make the change you want to see. Now is not the time to get lazy and forget that human rights aren’t just handed out. Human rights are hard-earned, and there is still so much to do.