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UN Declaration of Human Rights has never been more vital or more relevant
Dec 10, 2018

70 years on, its time to remind ourselves of our shared humanity and the importance of protecting the principals of human rights and equality.


Dublin, 10th December, 2018: Brian MacNeill

On 10th December 1948, as the world lay in ruins following a second devastating world war in decades, something hugely important was born – the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Conflict had given rise to misery, destruction, loss of life and economic destitution on an unimaginable scale.  From these ashes, one of the lowest points in human history, a powerful idea was cemented; one that enshrined the principals of respect, dignity and equality for all citizens on our planet.  The UN Declaration of Human Rights has been the world’s moral compass ever since, and today we celebrate the 70th anniversary of one of the most significant moments in modern times.

As we approach the end of 2018, we live in an increasingly hostile and polarised world. In recent times we have witnessed outrageous violations of human rights, from the ethic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar, to the misery of daily life in besieged Gaza, to the devastating regional war that is obliterating life and creating famine and disease in Yemen.  Always, it is the most vulnerable and most powerless that suffer the greatest hardship, and children most of all.

Today’s important milestone can, and should, serve as a timely reminder of why the Declaration of Human Rights was signed in the first place. A reminder of a time when we failed each other.  A time when the world lost its respect for human life, for other cultures, for other religions, and other peoples – then found it again.

We must remain steadfast in our shared humanity and believe in the core principals that we can all aspire to as global citizens – the right to be respected and the right to be treated as equals.

Children deserve to grow up in a world where they are free from violence and exploitation in all its forms.  They deserve to grow up in a world where their right to an education is protected.  They deserve to have their human rights recognised, not as an afterthought, but as citizens of the world with their own inalienable rights.   Girls deserve to live in a world where they aren’t forced into domestic servitude from an early age, or compelled to marry while they are still just girls.  Boys who labour in mines or fields and have their very health and futures stolen from them, deserve to enjoy the kind of childhood other children take for granted.

The UNDHR of 1948 has been a guiding light to help us understand the principal of equality for all citizens, how we are failing some groups in society and what we must to to remedy that.   In 1989 the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) came into being, which cemented the basic standards in protecting children’s human rights.  Without the Declaration of Human Rights that preceded it, its unlikely this, or many other such rights-led agreements would have been reached.

The Sustainable Development Goals signed in 2015, is another hugely important  rights-based initiative.  The goals are a road map of 17 priority areas that need to address by 2030 to create a more equal playing field for all.  They show how the global community can fight inequality and support human rights for all citizens when it works in harmony.  let us therefore rejoice in our support of shared ideals and that which binds us, over that which divides us.

Happy birthday UNDHR!


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