The holiday season is finally here and everyone is glowing like Christmas lights over the idea of a thirty-eight day long break from academic stresses. There’s something inexplicable about the month of December and the way the holidays within this month have the power to bring people closer together. It is a month where people genuinely care about making sure others have the best holiday possible. So it is only fitting that December 10th is World Human Right’s Day.
The day is used to honor the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was “adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations” on December 10, 1948, states the Australian Human Rights Commission. It was written after the world wars and is recognized as a “comprehensive statement of inalienable human rights.” However the Universal Declaration is not a treaty so it does not hold any legal value in countries, but it is a moral expression of a shared view on rights all human beings are entitled to.
The United Nations recognizes human rights as rights fundamental to human beings “whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language or any other status.”The United Nations has a list of human rights issues listing from A-W, covering human rights problems with children, environment, migration, poverty and loads more.
This year celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the position, High Commissioner of Human Rights. The UN describes the High Commissioner as a person whom responds to crises, supports fellow human rights defenders and brings human rights closer to people. The current High Commissioner is Navanethem Pillay, or Navi Pillay for short. She was appointed this position in September 2008 and has had her mandate renewed twice since then. Ms. Pillay has an extensive history with involvement of human rights. In 1967 she was the first woman to start a law practice in her home provence of Natal. With this law practice she was a defense attorney for anti-apartheid activists, exposing torture and she had a big part in developing rights for prisoners on Robben Island, a prison located off the coast of South Africa that held many political prisoners, most notably Nelson Mandela.
This past fall Millersville held their annual International Policy Conference and the topic of discussion was “Human Rights Across the Globe”. This conference covered various human rights topics such as fair trade, LGBTQIA equality, poverty and inequality , disability and other important human rights issues. If you missed out on this opportunity to become informed, there are other ways. Amnesty International is an independent organization that is dedicated to exposing corruptions within the human rights spectrum and doing what they can to help. The Amnesty International website offers various ways to help such as donations and contributing to appeals. If you are interested in a more direct involvement, the Millersville University chapter of Amnesty International meets every Tuesday at 9 p.m. in McComsey, room 202.