Gopal Krishna Siwakoti, PhD
Sixty-seven years have elapsed since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the UN. It was also the first time that human rights and fundamental freedoms were set forth in such detail. Inspired by 55 different state constitutions, the UDHR is a compromise among many different conceptions of humanity. It represented a world milestone in the long struggle for human rights and remains one of the best known and most often cited human rights documents in the world to uphold the notion of “All Human Rights for All"—embracing universality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights.
Today, more than 60 human rights instruments constitute an international standard of human rights derived from UDHR. It is a time for governments to ensure that the rights set forth in the international instruments are reflected in their national legislation and to move to ratify those international human rights treaties that may be still pending. The farewell to 67th Anniversary of UDHR also provides the opportunity for more countries not only to condemn blatant violations of human rights but also to take responsibility and action to break the cycle of impunity whenever human rights are violated.
Over the years, the UN has created conventional and extra-conventional mechanisms in order to monitor compliance of States parties with various human rights instruments and to investigate allegations of human rights abuses. There has been a major shift in the human rights doctrine and protection mechanism in the recent years. Forced migration, peace and transitional justice, disaster management have formed significant components of post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals that have overwhelmingly dominated global human rights agenda.
Human rights are not simply a bundle of western concepts imposed on the countries of the South but are beyond the so-called parachute dropping of human rights into these countries. Poverty, war, civil strife, nuclear proliferation, arms build-up and other anti-people policies have jeopardized the effective realization of all human rights for all and attaining them is still a distant reality. Majority of the population in the global south is deprived of its fundamental freedoms along with economic, social and cultural rights resulting malnutrition, infant mortality, homelessness, discrimination, and injustices. While people starve to death in some places, the warehouses in other privileged cities have more than enough food. The great majority of people in the global south are poor because of the inequitable ownership and control of the means of production, capital, technology, land and other productive assets. There is an urgent need to fundamentally restructure economic relations based on the principles of equality, cooperation, and mutual benefit and along the lines set forth in various documents of domestic and international law.
Our own country Nepal, which has passed through high intensity armed conflict for more than a decade, deadly earthquake, post-conflict organized crimes and violence, broad human rights movements are gaining strength to collectively achieve the rights as enshrined in the new constitution which paves a way for the effective realization of inclusive human rights, broader freedom and democratization. Nonetheless, the transitional justice process is not gaining any substantial mileage with victims/survivors still waiting for justice of the past abuses. Securing greater gender equality, total elimination of caste-based discrimination and untaouchability, ensuring safer migration and robust action on counter-human trafficking as well as protection of refugees are other issues of critical concern among others.
INHURED International, as a front-runner civil society organization having Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the UN, is dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights beyond border to build an efficient, human rights-friendly democratic culture in the society and within the machinery of government; one which respects human rights and is accountable to culture of peace and justice in society at large. For this, greater debate on the unconditional fulfillment of human rights obligations with no room for violence and impunity is the demand of the day.
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