Editor’s Note

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights ? a milestone enshrining the fundamental rights of every individual.

Dec 08, 2023

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights ? a milestone enshrining the fundamental rights of every individual. Seventy-five years since its inception, these principles remain aspirational for many, yet to be fully realised and embraced worldwide.

Despite tireless efforts from figures like Pope Francis, advocating ardently for the protection and respect of all people, especially the most vulnerable, our world still grapples with the pursuit of these fundamental rights. This year’s theme for World Human Rights Day, Freedom, Equality, and Justice for All, resounds louder than ever, echoing through a world marked by strife, inequality, and ongoing struggles for basic human dignity.

Conflict-ridden regions bear witness to the urgent necessity for global unity in upholding these fundamental human rights. From the devastations of armed conflicts to the plights of refugees seeking safety, millions endure daily violations of their basic rights. Peace remains a distant goal in various parts of the world, underscoring the pressing need to redouble efforts toward creating a world free from violence and oppression.

Pope Francis, a leading advocate for social justice and human rights, consistently emphasises solidarity and compassion, particularly towards marginalised and oppressed communities. His call to action echoes the teachings and actions of Jesus, highlighting our shared responsibility to ensure the dignity and respect of every person, irrespective of race, creed, or socio-economic status.

Jesus emphasised the inherent worth and dignity of every individual. His actions and words consistently highlighted the importance of treating everyone with respect, regardless of social status, ethnicity, or background. His parables often conveyed the message of inclusivity, urging His followers to embrace all members of society, especially the marginalised and oppressed. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus emphasises the essence of empathy and compassion, teaching us to extend help to anyone in need, regardless of their identity.

The concept of freedom, one of the pillars of this year’s theme, echoes throughout Christ’s teachings. He spoke of a freedom, not just from physical bondage, but also from spiritual enslavement — freedom found in truth, love, and living a life in accordance with higher principles. Jesus famously proclaimed, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32), emphasising the transformative power of truth in liberating individuals from ignorance and injustice.

Equality, another fundamental aspect of human rights, was central to Jesus’ ministry. He challenged societal norms by engaging with people from all walks of life, breaking barriers of prejudice and discrimination. His actions, such as dining with tax collectors and welcoming the outcasts, exemplified a radical message of inclusivity, where every person was seen as valuable and worthy of love and acceptance.

Moreover, justice was a cornerstone of Jesus’ teachings. He advocated for fairness, compassion, and mercy, encouraging His followers to actively seek justice for the oppressed and downtrodden. In the Beatitudes, He blessed those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, underscoring the importance of striving for justice in a world marred by inequality and suffering.

World Human Rights Day is not just a remembrance but a call to action, urging us to recommit to the values in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Let us use this day to renew our dedication to championing freedom, equality, and justice for all. May we stand in solidarity with those whose rights are violated, tirelessly advocating for a world where every individual can live with dignity, peace, and equality.

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