“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” Or are they?
A disabled man is automatically disqualified for a job that requires working in a building that is inaccessible to him.
An indigenous child is denied the right to learn his/her own language as part of a regular education.
A woman gives birth and is denied the right to pass on her nationality to her child, who must be registered under her male partner.
A student is bullied because of the colour of her skin, her accent and her clothes.
All around the world, millions of people face a daily struggle against discrimination – both directly, through laws and policies, or indirectly, through societal attitudes and prejudice. When taken to the extreme, such discrimination has even resulted in policies of ethnic cleansing and genocide.
However in recent history there have been many successes – from the toppling of the apartheid regime in South Africa, to the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to the extension of voting rights to women in many countries – which should encourage us that inequality and discrimination can be fought against and eradicated.
On Human Rights Day 2009, Thursday December 10, resolve to embrace diversity and end discrimination.