On 10 December 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This global instrument was a milestone then because it was the first time that people everywhere, from different cultures and backgrounds, agreed on the universal entitlements of all human beings.
December 10 is still a commemorative day that is observed all around the world, but it’s also a day where everyone is called upon to promote and protect the human rights of each human being, regardless of gender identity, religious background, ethnicity, political affiliation, legal status and ability. COL would like to echo and support the key message behind the UN’s new global campaign this year, “Stand Up for Someone’s Rights Today”. It is not only up to Commonwealth member states to uphold human rights, but it is incumbent upon us as Commonwealth citizens to do our part in our daily lives.
While the promotion and protection of human rights is something that most of us understand as something that should be done, its link to greater economic, social and political development at the national, regional and international levels is not always clear.
Human rights are universal, inalienable, interdependent, indivisible, equal, nondiscriminatory, and they come with the obligation to be fulfilled under international law. Where human beings are not able to claim their basic entitlements, whether they be the right to study, the right to work, right to participate in political life, the right to adequate food and shelter, the right to a clean and safe environment, the right to participate in and benefit from development processes, the right to own land, etc., the achievement of sustainable development is not possible.
According to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, all countries in the world pledged that “no one will be left behind”. However, if people, particularly those that face discrimination and disadvantage, are not able to claim their human rights which would allow them to fully participate in the social, economic and political development of their communities and societies, they will certainly “be left behind”. Consequently, efforts towards inclusive growth, poverty reduction and gender equality need to take place within a context of democratic governance where the rule of law is upheld, citizen participation is fostered, and human rights and fundamental freedoms are respected.
To contribute to the achievement of the commitments outlined in the 2030 Agenda, each one of us could do his or her part and “Stand Up for Someone’s Rights Today”.
 Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html
 Retrieved from http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Pages/WhatareHumanRights.aspx
 Retrieved from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld
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