December 10-World celebrate it as Human Rights Day-Puri
Jaswant Singh Puri
What the human rights emphasise today has been conveyed and asserted by all the spiritual saints, ascetics and hermits. God does not care for one’s birth or caste but loves truth and noble deeds. All the Gurus spread the spirit of humanism and this is the universal message of Human Rights Day. Human rights are our basic rights like right to live, right to health, freedom of speech and thought etc.
Officially, Human Rights Day is observed on tenth of December every year all over the world. It is celebrated in honour of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It was adopted and declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India goes into an introspection to view the duties and actions so that there is no violation of Human Rights.
The intrinsic essence of Universal Declaration of Human Rights ensures that all human beings are born free and bear the right of equality and equal protection in context to law. This spirit of equality breathes in the Constitution of India. The Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA) 1993 also imparts strength to it.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights aims to cover the whole world so that the earth planet becomes a congenial place to live in peace and sans fear and tug of war. Its formation aimed to create an important change of direction from events during World War II and the ongoing colonialism that was prevailing in the world. To make an easy approach to get and read it, it has been translated in more than 360 languages and more translations are still in progress.
Hats off to U.N. General Assembly who raised the curtain to proclaim the Human Rights at the Plais de Chaillot in Paris on 10th December, 1948. All the interested organisations were invited humbly to earmark 10th December as Human Rights Day at a U.N. conference held on 4th December, 1950.It was observed on December 10 that year and this process has been in continuation. This day of paramount importance is celebrated every year with some specific theme but the focus remains on people knowing their human rights. Universal Human Rights Day aims to create awareness and enlighten people to know how our rights are the backbone of our lives for sustainable development and move in society comfortably.
The Principles of Equality and Non-discrimination are the soul of human rights. There is a need to find solutions for deep-rooted prejudiced minds and pungent discriminations that have caused much enmity in our societies. Equalities and non-discrimination in other words lead to smooth development and the befitting way to tread on the path to realise the 2030 agenda. This can help us to overcome economic, social, health, climate change crisis and create societies where everyone feels delighted, fulfil the life dreams and strike the opportunities with available resources.
The principles enshrined in the Declaration are more relevant today as these were in 1948 due to globalisation. There is a need to show courage and will-power to speak candidly for our own rights and propagate the kinship, the loving-bondage of all human beings.
There is the Human Rights Council, an intergovernmental body within the United Nations Organisation to strengthen and promote Human Rights around the globe and redressal of human rights violations. The council is made up of United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly.
There have been champions of Human Rights all over the world. Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Cesan Chaver, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, Desmond Tutu, Oscar Arias, Muhammad Yunus advocated the concept of Human Rights very forcefully. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Mahatma Gandhi was a great supporter of peaceful resistance to oppression. Cesar Chaver said, “You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride.” Nelson Mandela spoke, “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.”
Emphasising the utility of Human Rights Day, it is celebrated every year with a different theme. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a unique document which declares that everyone is entitled to human rights irrespective of race, colour, religion, sex, language, birth or any other status. This year’s slogan for Human Rights Day is “Dignity, Freedom and Justice for all.” In the 75 years since the proclamation of the UDHR, human rights have advanced. But it does not hinder our fight for rights and equality. There is a need to take concrete actions and tackle the challenges of Human Rights in contemporary world.
Note: This article is dedicated to Smt. Alka Puri, M.A. (Hindi, B.Ed.) who was the Secretary, Ladies Club, Punjabi University, Patiala during the tenure of Vice Chancellor Dr. S.S. Johal, awarded with Padma Bhushan in 2004. Smt. Alka Puri was the wife of Dr. Ajit Singh Puri and mother of Jaswant Singh Puri.
(The views expressed are personal)