wednesday, december 10, 2014
Human rights for everyone 365 days a year By Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
ll human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”: in perhaps the most resonant and beautiful words of any international agreement, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises, to all, the economic, social, political, cultural and civic rights that underpin a life free from want and fear. These human rights are not country-specific. They are not a reward for good behavior, or particular to a certain era or social group. They are the inalienable entitlements of all people, at all times and everywhere, 365 days a year. They are the rights of people of every color, from every race and ethnic group; whether or not they have disabilities; citizens or migrants; no matter their sex, their class, their caste, their creed, their age or sexual orientation. The commitments made to the people of the world through the Universal Declaration are in themselves a mighty achievement – discrediting the tyranny, discrimination and contempt for human beings that have so painfully marked human history. And since the Declaration was adopted, countless people have gained greater freedom. Violations have been prevented. Independence and auton-
omy have been attained. Many people – though not all – have been able to secure freedom from torture, unjustified imprisonment, summary execution, enforced disappearance, persecution and unjust discrimination, as well as fair access to education, economic opportunities, rich cultural traditions and adequate resources and health care. They have obtained justice for wrongs, and national and international protection for their rights, through the strong architecture of the international human rights legal system. The power of the Universal Declaration is the power of ideas to change the world. It tells us that human rights are essential and indivisible – 365 days a year. Every day is Human Rights Day: a day on which we work to ensure that all people can gain equality, dignity and freedom. The U.N. Human Rights Office stands with the millions of people around the world whose voices are denied. And I look forward to you joining us, whether you do so via social media or in person. Together, we must demand what should be guaranteed: our human rights, universal, indivisible, inalienable, for everyone, 365 days a year. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of Jordan is the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights. He succeeds Navi Pillay of South Africa.
Marking Human Rights Day and acknowledging the commitment of all our contributors By Abdelsalam Sidahmed
ABOUT THE REGIONAL OFFICE FOR THE MIDDLE EAST
The Regional Office for the Middle East of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was established in Beirut in 2002. Its work covers nine countries: Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. The Regional Office works on thematic issues that require attention at the national and regional levels. Among others, the freedoms of opinion and expression, association and peaceful assembly require heightened attention; despite the fact that they are essential to democratic participation, they are gravely endangered. The Regional Office continues to advocate for the rights of vulnerable groups, minorities and non-citizens, whose legal status and rights are rarely discussed let alone protected. In addressing these issues, the Regional Office provides technical advice to governments in the field of human rights with regard to, inter alia, the ratification of human rights treaties, and encourages states to establish national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and to reinforce existing institutions, especially with respect to their independence and ability to take action when violations occur. The Regional Office also designs training modules on human rights targeting civil society organizations, governments and NHRIs on a variety of issues, including: developing laws that are in line with international human rights standards, preparing for and following up on the Universal Periodic Review process and its recommendations, and following up on the concluding observations and comments of treaty bodies and special procedures mandate holders. The Regional Office actively cooperates with the U.N. human rights mechanisms, including treaty bodies and special procedures mandate holders. The Regional Office prioritizes gender equality and women’s rights in its programs. All countries in the region are party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). In addition, the Regional Office compiles and analyses information on the human rights situation, contributes to global or thematic reports of the High Commissioner and organizes awareness-raising sessions and advocacy meetings to promote the protection of human rights. To know more about the work of the Regional Office for the Middle East, write to email@example.com and follow us on twitter @ohchr_ar
o mark this year’s Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) chose to celebrate the fundamental principle in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights. On this occasion, OHCHR’s Regional Office for the Middle East is publishing this eight-page supplement featuring articles covering various issues in the region and beyond, and contributed by our partners from civil society, international human rights organizations, academics, scholars and human rights activists, as well as U.N. officials. The purpose of these contributions is to remind us that human rights belong to every one of us without exception. But unless we know them, unless we demand they be respected, and unless we defend our right – and the right of others – to exercise them, the Universal Declaration for Human Rights will be a document that gathers dust in libraries and U.N. offices. That is why, on Human Rights Day, we do more than celebrate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 – we acknowledge its enduring relevance for our own times. The importance of human rights has been underlined over and over again this year. Across the globe, people mobilized to demand justice, dignity, equality and participation – the values that underline the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration. Many of the people seeking their legitimate aspirations were linked through social media.
Gone are the days when repressive governments could totally control the flow of information. Today, within their existing obligation to respect the rights of freedom of assembly and expression, governments must not block access to the internet and various forms of social media as a way to prevent criticism and public debate. Let us take strength from the new democratic transitions set in motion in the Middle East and North Africa region, despite setbacks, and pave the way for new steps to ensure accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and new and ever-spreading awareness of rights themselves. As we look to the challenges ahead, let us also take inspiration from the timeless power of the Universal Declaration, and from the examples of human rights activists – the brave men and women who chose to put their energies, and sometimes risk their own lives, for sake of better societies, and do our utmost to uphold the ideals and aspirations that speak for every culture and every person. On behalf of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, I would like to acknowledge and thank the contributors to this project, a diverse group of men and women whose essays and artistic contributions speak with various accents and colors. The depth of understanding, insight and commitment that I found in each contribution has touched me profoundly and for that I thank each and every contributor. This supplement salutes your commitment to human rights. Abdelsalam Sidahmed is the High Commissioner’s Regional Representative in the Middle East.
It should be noted that The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights does not necessarily adopt the views expressed in these contributions.
wednesday, december 10, 2014
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2014
How social media can be used Towards a progressive role of religious to prevent abuse of women leaders in promoting human rights By Rana Husseini
he fall of dictatorial regimes in our region – the so-called Arab Spring – has failed to fulfill the dreams of many in the Arab world. And, in the case of women in some countries, it has set back their status and human rights. Social media was instrumental in toppling some regimes in the region. Now, taking advantage of technological advances, women are using social media to fight conservatism in the region and some groups that are trying to strip them of their rights and of the few gains they have attained in recent years. It is alarming that conservative politicians and decision makers are attempting to curtail women’s freedoms and limit their roles in the social and political lives of their countries. Because social media is being used more extensively by the general public, activists and organizations in the region, previously hidden stories about the abuse of women, discrimination and brutal murders in our region are now better known. It is good that such alarming and discriminatory behavior is no longer hidden and that social media is used constantly to promote and enforce human rights. The ugliness surfaces, drawing attention to the phenomena and raising awareness – the first step towards taking action. Encouragingly – and thanks to social media – more men are joining women and together they are fighting for common causes and demanding their human rights. Individuals and groups are using all forms of media to report abuse and give an accurate picture of religion’s true stand on women and their role in society. They are making a difference. Several groups have pages on Facebook and
use Twitter and other websites to advocate for women’s rights and to fight backwardness – a trait that unfortunately still prevails in our societies. One Facebook group – www.facebook.com/intifadat.almar2a – translates into English as Arab Women’s Uprising. It encourages followers to express thoughts on common perceptions in their countries regarding women’s bodies and their intellectual abilities. Participants – men and women from throughout theArab world – have denounced the idea that women are seen merely as bodies and/or commodities. They also send direct messages to conservative ruling regimes that they will fight against any attempts to deprive women of their rights. Another Facebook group, called Women Are a Revolution Not a Shame – www.facebook.com/Revolution.Women – was set up to promote women’s rights and highlight their achievements. In Jordan, a young and energetic group has started a page called No Honour in Crime. It dedicates itself to combating the so-called honor murders in Jordan and elsewhere in the world, documenting cases of women who are killed in the name of family honor. Besides documenting these brutal murders, they also humanize individual stories, giving a face to the women whose families have tried to eliminate them and pretend they never existed. Social media is a powerful tool that, when used properly, can effect positive change in society, as we are seeing in the region. It should be promoted by women activists. It will deliver changes beneficial to the lives of millions of women. Rana Husseini is a journalist and human rights defender from Jordan, author of the book “Murder in the name of honour.”
By Sheikh Maytham Al Salman
eligious hostility across the globe reached a six-year peak in 2012, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. A third (33%) of the 198 countries included in the study had high religious hostility in 2012, up from 29% in 2011 and 20% as of mid-2007. Religious hostility increased in every major region of the world except the Americas. The sharpest increase was in the Middle East and North Africa. Other reports have concluded that the Middle East and North Africa region has witnessed a 72% increase in religious hostility in recent years. This increase has not only multiplied the levels of social hostility between
Teaching our children, for our sake We speak of human rights not so that our children will learn them but so that we ourselves will remember what our children have not yet unlearned.
To speak of freedom and brotherhood is to remind ourselves: No one is safe until all are safe. No one is free until all are free.
We trumpet equality and freedom, and speak of brotherhood and dignity. These things are the light our children do not know they are standing in until a shadow falls across it.
Even children know: You cannot throw mud at someone without getting dirt on your hands. You cannot hold someone down without rooting yourself to the spot. The same key can seal a door, or cause it to swing wide and admit the light.
They will learn soon enough, to be sure; we ourselves will teach them. They will see us build not bridges, but walls; not windows, but thick doors with heavy locks. Not enough to keep us safe, but enough to muffle the cries of those in greater peril just outside.
Rebecca Fadel King is a third-generation Lebanese-American whose grandparents came from Beit Mery. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children, and an incorrigible black lab.
social and religious factions in the Middle East; it has also instigated the growth of human rights violations based on religious backgrounds. Thousands across the Middle East have been killed, displaced from their homes, kidnapped, rapped, imprisoned, tortured and mistreated due to their religious backgrounds or beliefs. It is crucial for religious leaders at this point in history to affirm that distorted and false interpretations of religious scripts have been used to legitimize mass atrocities and human rights violations. It is also essential for religious leaders to clarify to the followers of religions the importance of denouncing all forms of hate speech leading to the use of force and violence against others. Religious leaders not only can, but should play a positive and progressive
role in promoting, protecting and advancing human rights all around the globe. All forms of violence and aggression against human beings, regardless of their faith or race, should be clearly prohibited and outlawed by religious leaders, for human beings are worthy of respect, support, and care, simply because they are human. Religious leaders who legalize human rights violations, instigate hatred, authorize brutality and violence, legitimatize discrimination and racism are neither leaders nor are they religious, while religious leaders who promote and defend human rights and dignity for all should be respected and appreciated Sheikh Maytham Al Salman is the head of Religious Freedom Unit at the Bahrain Human Rights Observatory.
wednesday, december 10, 2014
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2014 Syria: the hardest story to tell By Lama Rageh
ince the beginning of the Syrian conflict, professional and citizen journalists have been under constant attack by both governmental and opposition forces. In countries affected by armed conflicts, the universal right of freedom of expression is attacked and undermined on a daily basis. In Syria though, almost four years of bloodshed have transformed the country into the most dangerous place in the world for journalists, according to the latest report of Reporters Without Borders. The Syrian Center for Journalistic Freedom has been working to document the violations committed by both by government and opposition forces. According to the center, since March 2011, the number of victims of violations who were professional or citizen journalists has reached 257. Even during the first peaceful protests, journalists had to work using aliases and hide their identity due to the government repression. Many of them were arrested, killed or tortured in prison. The persecution of journalists allowed the rise of many young citizen journalists who were using just basic equipment and unofficial channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, to report the protests and spread the information all around the world. Over time, many of them became professional and began to produce reports in a more efficient and effective way, fast gaining the support of the public. On Aug. 19, pressed by the local population and the current situation, Syrian President Bashar Assad released a new media law whose aim was to guarantee the freedom of expression and information in the country. Despite the attempt, many international observers and organizations such as Article 19 accused the law of being vague and cynical, created just to divert attention from the protests that were spreading all around the country. The Syrian government refuses to release the journalist Mazen Darwish, the blogger Husien Ghrrer and the professor Hani Alziati all of whom were arrested on Feb. 16, 2012. Despite the international calls for the Syrian government to release them, the government is still procrastinating over their release and refuses to give them a fair trial. Woman journalists were not protected from the repression either. In 2013, Rowaida Kanaa, a reporter for Rozana Radio, was arrested in the Damascus suburbs: “I was at the military checkpoints when a soldier found my press card and arrested me. When I was in prison, they accused me of dealing with biased media channels and working against the government. During my 9 months of detention, the investigators beat me and threatened me with electricity” she said. Crimes against journalists are also committed by the opposition forces.
Militias and several armed groups have been working in what they call “liberated areas” to crack down on the work of journalists and limit their monitoring of human rights abuses. The chaotic logistics amid different groups, the diffusion of armies and the rise of local warlords, have all caused a deterioration of the security and made the documentation of local misuse of power and human rights violations difficult. Zaki Idlibi, a 26year-old reporter for the Orient TV channel, was injured by an explosive device planted in his car in the Idlib suburb. His case, as many others, remains unpunished and the offenders unknown. The arrival of ISIS jihadis in 2013 has aggravated the already precarious situation of journalists working in Syrian territory. The world was shocked by the video of the beheading of the two American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff during the last summer. However, many other brutal crimes and acts of violence have been perpetrated by ISIS militants against both local and international media workers. Raids against local media centers are common in the areas controlled by ISIS, which threatens and confiscates the equipment of all those who refuse to pledge allegiance to the group. Louai Aboalihoud, a reporter for TV channel Alarabya, was imprisoned in Aleppo on Nov. 28, 2013 while he was preparing a report. “They kept me in a cell inside what is called the ‘death prison of Aleppo,’” he said. “There, I met many journalists who were arrested by ISIS. They held me in a solitary cell and exerted psychological pressure like the threat of slaughter and beheading me.” He was released on May 12 2014 without being charged. In 2006, due the increase in the number of violations, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1738 and implemented measures to protect journalists. The resolution emphasized the state’s obligation to prevent attacks against the press and the need to consider all media professionals as civilians and parties not involved in the conflict. However, abuses have continued indiscriminately. Syria has become the deadliest country for media workers and locals are paying the heaviest price. The international measures taken to defend the freedom of the press within the country need to be implemented and indeed enforced. If each of the warring parties in Syria will not commit to this effort, the stories told from the conflict will keep being affected by security limitations, external manipulation and ideological interests, leaving the Syrian population with a future full of darkness and uncertainty. Lama Rageh is a human rights defender and activist from Syria.
These drawings were collected from Syrian refugee children aged between 8 and 12, with the kind help of “Ouyoun Souria,” a non-governmental organization, and Mr. Khaled Al-Bitar. In each of these drawings the child has sketched his or her house in Syria as he or she visualizes it now.
wednesday, december 10, 2014
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2014
Human Rights 365: Every right, every day, for everyone By Agnes Callamard
n Dec. 10, we celebrate international human rights day. This year’s theme – Human Rights 365 (HR365) – encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. But it is difficult to even imagine HR365 given our last 365 days. This past year has been beset with conflict, insecurity and inequality, which have driven mass atrocities. It is difficult to celebrate HR365 when these past 365 days have washed so many coffins onto the shore of humanity’s hopes and dreams: the outcomes of nationalist conflicts and sectarian bombs, of criminal gangs and corrupt officials, of poverty, of sexual exploitation and cultural wars, of contagions of a deadly viruses and of common bigotry. Indeed, the barriers to HR365 are multiple. But they have in common selfishness, greed and abuse of power. They are the parents who marry their 14-year-old daughter to a man four times her age. They are the villagers who attack those who defy their interpretation of cultural norms. They are the religious leaders spreading division and hatred. They are armies and armed groups engaging in mass atrocities. They are corporations exploiting the environment and parliaments passing laws that enshrine discrimination against women, gays, and other minorities. And yet, there are many more than 365 reasons to recall that it is human rights that bind us together as a global community, belonging equally to all of us. But how do we unlock this potential so that it is a daily reality? A number of keys can open the door to human rights every day:
G People’s participation in the public affairs of their nations and communities. Associating and working with others; By Nadim Houry
here is not much to celebrate this Human Rights Day. Grave abuses are committed daily in Syria, Iraq, and Libya. Refugees from Syria and Iraq are going hungry as neighboring countries gradually close their borders and international support dwindles. Egypt’s judiciary – once an institution that prided itself on its independence — is issuing death sentences by the hundreds without any semblance of due process. Sectarian hatred fills the airwaves while bloggers who criticize their rulers are thrown in jail. Meanwhile, women are treated as secondclass citizens in almost all countries in the Arab world. Human rights are under attack, not just by extremist groups like ISIS that explicitly reject international human rights norms, but also by autocratic governments that want to silence any dissent or social demands that may challenge or weaken their rule. To achieve these objectives, these governments are no longer just relying on their loyal and feared security services, but are increasingly unleashing media outlets to drum up popular support for their repression under the guise of fighting terror or foreign conspiracies. These attacks are taking their toll on human rights defenders. Try defending the rights of Muslim Brotherhood members in Egypt or the rights of atheists or gays in Saudi Arabia or Iran. Not only will officials accuse you of conspiring against your country, but many media outlets will join in attacking you and sometimes your fam-
voicing hopes and views, outrage or support; voting, demanding, deciding: in other words, exercising human agency. That’s where HR365 begins. Each day of every year, people are acting in, on and against conflict, poverty, inequality, exclusion and alienation. Each day there are people making HR365 a lived reality by exercising their rights in defense of rights. And, they are doing so sometimes at the cost of their own lives: as journalists, health workers, judges, lawyers or women’s rights activists. They are defending sexual identity, environmental justice and trades unions. They are farmers, workers, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, facing threats and confronting hostility for standing up for rights. People are accused of working for foreign powers, of treason or sedition, of breaking community norms, and laws may prevent their organizations from registering, accessing funding, advocating or informing. They are defending human rights every day and their protection – the protection of civil society organizations and human rights defenders – must be a key priority for HR365 to be a reality. G Free flow of information and ideas, regardless of borders, without frontiers. Across mediums, including through a global, secure and trustworthy Internet: the free flow of information is not only a right; it is fundamental to the realization of all other rights. Stymieing information flow and censoring those seeking to communicate with and inform others – these violations of our fundamental freedoms have dramatic negative consequences for the capability of individuals and communities around the world to meet the challenges they confront. Information about the quality of the
water people drink and the land they farm; information about what social welfare programs or food support refugees are entitled to; information about contraception and birthing care to which women are universally entitled; free flow of information to reveal the facts of past or present insecurity, disappearances, killings and torture: all of this is essential to unlocking HR365. Free flow of information is also of fundamental importance to our collective human rights future. Climate change and hunger; population and health; genocide and mass violence: these many issues are beyond the ability of any one person, community or nation to resolve. An interconnected global community facing up to shared challenges needs a free flow of information, speech and expression. Information is the thread that can bind us together for shared solutions in the interest of our joint future. G Recognizing that power is neither spread nor shared equally and understanding how this works to impede Human Rights 365 is key: there are privileges held by some and denied to others. Yet, each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights. The realization of human rights for each of us, to the exclusion of none of us, is in the interests of all of us. For HR365 to come alive, we must demand of governments that they put their money where their mouths are: align their resources to their commitments. Today the United Nations devotes only 3% of its annual budget to directly upholding human rights, even though human rights is one of the U.N. system’s three pillars. If the United Nations member states are serious about Human Rights 365, then surely its institution created to defend human rights
must be granted the means to do just that. 2015 is the opportunity to correct this resource imbalance, when the world through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commits to development it wants for all of its nations. For HR365 to spread globally, the new SDGs must deliver people-focused development that embraces human rights, peace and justice, and member states must then resource them accordingly. No matter the human rights spaces that we occupy, with or without privi-
The Unsung Heroes
ily. Just ask the numerous Egyptian activists who had to leave their country in the past year under incessant intimidation and fearing arrest. Even traditional bastions of free expression in the region like Kuwait and Lebanon have grown more intolerant of certain subjects such as criticism of the Emir in
Kuwait or, to a lesser extent, the Army in Lebanon. Human rights work was never about taking on popular causes. Human rights are essential because they are meant to act as a check on abuses against the vulnerable, including those whom the general public in any given country dislikes.
This means defending the rights of groups often considered outsiders, like refugees or migrants, but also individuals who are often publicly portrayed as undeserving of human rights protections, such as terrorism suspects. In other words, to believe in human rights is to believe in a principle regardless of the
lege, there are opportunities to work for HR365. Many of us also have a key. Perhaps it is small and a little rusty but it is our key nevertheless and it means each of us can exercise our rights for rights – so that HR365 means human rights every day, for every right, for everyone. That is our agency, human agency, and that is where HR365 begins. Dr. Agnes Callamard is an executive director of Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression and Information Project.
victim or the personal sympathy one may have for the victim of rights abuse: the prohibition on torture and the right to a fair trial do not cease applying when the victim is a suspected terrorist, a Gadhafi, a Saddam, or possibly one day an Assad, even if they denied those rights to others. Many activists in the region have refused to compromise on their principles and have consequently paid a heavy price, sometimes with their lives or freedom. People like Alaa Abdel Fatah in Egypt, or Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain, who continue to protest and oppose unfair laws and practices in their countries despite multiple stints in prison. Courageous lawyers like Razan Zeitouneh, who worked for years documenting Syrian government abuses and suffered persecution as a result, until rebel groups abducted her on Dec. 9, 2013, possibly because of her human rights work in areas under their control. It is the commitment to these activists that gives meaning to this year’s Human Rights Day slogan, Human Rights 365, which is meant to highlight that human rights are for everyone all the time. That message is best captured by activists like Alaa, Nabeel, or Razan, who show us day after day what true commitment to human rights means. The least we can do on this Human Rights Day is recognize and honor their work and renew our efforts to have their rights respected. It is the least we can do since they work 365 days a year for the rights of others. .. Nadim Houry is deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch and head of its Beirut office.
wednesday, december 10, 2014
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2014
What do human rights mean to you? By Justin Salhani
…money and home. Everyone needs money and a house and their family. Nothing else.
he concept of human rights means many things to many different people. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) describes human rights as follows: Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. The Daily Star, in coordination with the Middle East and North Africa Regional Office of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, hit the streets of Beirut to ask people of varying nationalities and backgrounds what they visualize when they think about the concept of human rights. Interviews included people from 12 countries and five continents. Results, predictably, varied between the positive and the negative. Some showed frustration at what they perceive to be a lack of humanity in the region, while others chose to focus on the importance of the concept of human rights.
…a very vague and basic concept. Human rights means allowing people to live a comfortable life without being disturbed. [The implementation] depends on the region and the political regime and what government rules and how they apply the rule of law. – Dr. Aiko Nishikida, PH.D., university professor, Japan …people’s rights. When you are born you have these privileges and rights.
…equality between men and women. Currently, there is no equality, especially for women. Politically we are behind other countries and [all the current efforts] are only for show. There are no real rights. Look at divorce and custody of children … they are unfair. We need a lot [of improvements]. We need laws for all religions and not each religion having its own. We need to teach girls to take care of their families in school … Girls don’t know what to do and children pay the price. Civil rights should be taught at school. We should be loyal to our national cause and our country and not only to a leader. I am disappointed with some political leaders. I demand a quota for women [for now] and later [when things improve] no quota.
You must have a chance to grow, prosper, and succeed.
– Caroline Abu Diab, owner of Casa Oriental restaurant, Lebanon
– Paul Gadalla, editor, United States
emands for citizenship rights have an almost universal resonance today. For the millions who took to the streets in the Arab uprisings, the Occupy movement, the Gezi Park movement and the more recent protests in Hong Kong, theirs is a demand for what Hannah Arendt called the “right to have rights,” that is, the right to be recognized as full citizens, irrespective of socio-economic, political, cultural, ethnic or religious differences. The Arab uprisings perhaps best encapsulate the demand for this right, including within the calls for freedom and dignity the rights to justice, to selfdetermination and to difference at the individual and collective levels. This right to justice is not limited to legal processes or mere questions of wealth redistribution. It also engages with the fundamental ways in which societies are organized and power is
from the internet, which is free in other countries.
– Banch, caretaker, Ethiopia
… the acknowledgment that we are all equal. It is the recognition that no matter where we are born, grow up, live or die and no matter what cause we fight for or code we live by, there are fundamental aspects of the human condition that should be protected as inalienable. I think the Universal Declaration of Human rights is one of the most powerful documents ever written. I can’t think of a single light under which you could read it and not agree with its message. Whether on the scale of world peace or your local community, we should all be allowed to live with dignity and freedom. Human rights are the armor against oppression and the facilitator of the disenfranchised. They should be the yardstick by which we measure laws, social progression, economic development and, perhaps most crucially, security. Too easily we allow fear to guide our response to insecurity, but where this goes against the crucial elements of our human rights, bad things tend to happen – whether that’s an Orwellian observation or an oppression of members of our communities. Human rights recognize that we all feel fear, the cold, exhaustion, hunger and the desire to explore and understand. These are all aspects of being human that we can recognize that formally not only help us ameliorate each other as people but the human race as a whole.
– Emmalyn Almaden, employee at a store in Beirut Souks, Philippines
Human rights mean to me…
By Maha Yahya
Those who can’t afford medications and hospital [bills] and everyone with problems should be aided. If a mother and father can’t pay for their kids to go to school, the state should pay.
– Yin Qian, engineer, China …that all people should have the right to lead their life the way they want it without any interference or hindrance, despite their race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.
…nothing. There are none. Look at the people around here. Do they have rights? I have nothing more to say. – Mohammad Ali, employee at Beirut municipality, Syria …civilization. People respecting each other and accepting each other. [It means] not judging others and their beliefs. Everyone is free to think and have their rights. – Anna Abi Chadid, third-year university student and employee at an insurance company, Lebanon
…freedom and respect. That’s all I want to say.
…respect for the family. But in the Arab world, are there really any human rights?
…the framework that’s designed to hold each person and sovereignty to a standard that ensures a life is free from political repression.
– Mohammad Sakr, taxi driver, Lebanon
– Mat Nashed, writer and teacher, Canada
…freedom. The security situation in life is very important. The situation is hard right now, we live in fear, always. The fulfillment of human rights will give us a sense of security, at work and at home. – Bilal Mnehmnh, employee of Solidere, Lebanon …everything. The state should help people with no money and people who are in the hospital. They should pay for schools and people should be helped.
– Australian tourist who wouldn’t provide her name.
…justice, equality, and no one oppressing you. When you get your full rights you are entitled to an education, and a good future, with nothing preventing all those things. – Moussa Sharif, window cleaner, Sudan …to ensure and protect our freedom to pursue happiness. They always complain about Vietnam, but we’re in the top 10 happiest countries. We don’t need freedom of speech or freedom of press or freedom to bear arms. We don’t have access to extreme content
The right to have rights exchanged. For millions of people, justice is about both the right to equality or to be treated in the same manner, and the right to equity or to be recognized equally in their differences. The right to self-determination is about having a say in shaping their own futures. At the most fundamental level, it is about having food on the table, quality education for their children, and health services when they need them; in other words, the rights to opportunities. It also includes the right to freedom, selfexpression and free association; that is, full civic and political rights as individuals and as communities. The right to difference is what Arendt identifies as recognition by a state of the right to enjoy varied individual and communal identities with dignity. This defi-
nition acknowledges that some of the most fundamental injustices in this world are rooted in characterizations of personhood that may deny certain rights to particular communities – through laws or policies, or sometimes through mere inaction. These rights are not slogans. For millions across the globe they embody the fundamental values of citizenship. For Arab citizens, these include the right of the Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, whose self-immolation captured the world’s attention and triggered the Arab uprisings, to earn a decent living; of young Egyptian blogger Khaled Said, who was killed by the police, and of Libyan human rights lawyer Salwa Boughighis, slain by militants, to speak their minds; of human
rights activist Razan Zeytouneh and the other hundreds of thousands of disappeared Syrians to engage publicly; and the right of millions of Palestinians to lives free from occupation. It is the right of individuals and communities to achieve their potential. For Arab citizens, these rights also mean the fierce protection of a rich societal fabric that definesArab histories and societies; a fabric that is being violently ripped apart today. The region today hosts 53 percent of the world’s refugees, despite making up less than 5 percent of its population. These forced population movements, alongside the persecution of minority groups, as happened dramatically with the Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen and Shabaks in Iraq in recent months, raise
– Long Tran, insurance worker, Vietnam
– James Haines Young, writer and photographer, United Kingdom Justin Salhani works as a journalist at The Daily Star newspaper in Beirut.
fundamental questions about the basis of collective humanity and highlight the importance of solidarity. Universal human rights can provide a framework through which the indivisibility of social, economic, political and cultural rights may be argued and the struggle for these rights may take place. They can also be the basis for recognizing and protecting the collective rights of communities, as well as those of individuals. Taken together, they can be instrumental in upholding the citizenship rights of the millions and of those who took to the streets and those who continue to struggle in their daily lives. Such is the meaning of “the right to have rights.” Such is the meaning of lives with dignity. Maha Yahya is a senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center, where her research focuses on citizenship, pluralism, and social justice in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings.
wednesday, december 10, 2014
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2014
Broken promises: governments must stop betraying their commitments to stamp out torture By Philip Luther
n December 1984, U.N. member states came together to adopt a groundbreaking convention to stamp out torture worldwide. Thirty years later, governments around the world are flagrantly betraying that commitment. While in many countries torture is now prohibited in law, in practice states continue to sanction and even facilitate its use. This spurred Amnesty International to launch a new global campaign earlier this year urging world leaders to “Stop Torture.” In the Middle East and North Africa, where most states are parties to the Convention against Torture (the exceptions being Iran and Oman), the uprisings and other movements for change that have convulsed the region this decade raised hopes that such pledges made on paper might be translated into respect in reality for the right to be free from torture, among other human rights. However, such optimism has largely given way to despair at the lack of progress or horror at the human rights catastrophes that have befallen some countries. In areas beset by conflict, torture is all too predictably used as a weapon of war and repression. It has been committed on an industrial scale in Syria since the ongoing crisis began in 2011, being used routinely against those detained for their suspected involvement in opposition activities and leading to the deaths of thousands in custody as a result. In Iraq and Libya the practice is rife in both state and militia-run detention facilities. Armed groups have played their own pernicious role in contributing to the phenomenon. Amnesty International has documented how the armed group that calls itself the Islamic State, in the context of the ethnic cleansing it has perpetrated in northern Iraq since June 2014, has subjected many of the hundreds of women and girls it abducted to rape or sexual abuse. Outside of conflict areas, a common feature across the Middle East and North
In many countries, abuse of detainees is widespread, especially when they are suspected of opposing the ruling regime.
Africa is the extent to which governments have resorted to torture and other ill-treatment to clamp down on dissent and protests. In Egypt, the security forces and army have used torture as a weapon against protesters, including the imposition of forced “virginity tests” on women protesters. In Iran the authorities have relied on torture as a way to obtain “confessions” to secure convictions that can lead to death sentences. In some countries, the authorities have needed to respond to a genuine threat posed by armed groups or individuals who have targeted civilians. However, the means of response has often been tainted by reports of torture against suspects. In Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories more than 800 complaints of torture, mainly involving Palestinians, have been made against the Israel Secu-
rity Agency since 2001, but no criminal investigation has been launched into any of them. The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have also both been responsible for torturing detainees, particularly their respective political opponents. Punishments violating the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment, such as stoning, flogging and amputations, remain on the statute books in a number of countries, notably in the Gulf, but are imposed principally in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Other practices violating the prohibition include forced anal exams, whose stated purpose is to establish same-sex sexual relations between men, but which lack scientific validity. Across the region, authorities have failed to ensure effective protection in law against acts of violence against
women committed by both state officials and private individuals, and tolerated them by failing to adequately investigate or prosecute them. In Tunisia, the case of Meriem Ben Mohamed (not her real name), a 27-year-old woman who reported being raped by two police officers in 2012 but found herself accused of indecency instead of seeing her complaint investigated, shook the country to the core. These and other entrenched patterns of torture and other ill-treatment in the region are facilitated by the fact that security forces operate largely unchecked, judicial systems rely heavily on confessions, and judicial authorities, which generally lack independence, often fail to act when faced with reports of such treatment. Where there has been progress, it has
Human rights: not a slogan but a way of life By Khawla Mattar
t was only in my late teenage years that I came to understand that respect for others, no matter how different they are from you, is actually part of respect for their basic human rights. A few years later I got involved in a number of projects, most of which were based on providing assistance to those in need, principally to the most vulnerable such as working children – especially children working on the streets – women and those in trouble with the law. I worked for several years as a journalist chasing after stories related to the migrant workers living in the Gulf, and the conditions they endured. At that point in time I started to do more research into laws and regulations, which, in an indirect way, guided me to the human rights-based international legislation, including the Human Rights Charter. That was a turning point in my life, when I was confronted with the daily suffering of those workers. I had to learn about their daily routine and follow them to what looked like a concentration camp-style of housing. I realized that much harm was being inflicted
on those workers and that their basic human rights were being violated on a daily basis. Some people argued that those workers had horrible lives back home and anything would be better than going back. I can remember clearly that famous Indian song that depicted the agony of a large number of poor workers who leave their families, homes, villages and small towns at the other end of the globe seeking a decent job that could help reduce the torment of their loved ones. I cannot recall if it was at that point in time or around the same period when I was becoming aware of another rather different sort of violation of basic rights – the suffering of the Palestinian people. I had learned a lot about the Palestinian conflict in school and at home, and I have always seen it through the lens of my strong belief in the right for self determination for all, and associated the Palestine issue with the apartheid system in South Africa. As the years passed, my list of groups, peoples, and issues I am interested in got longer. I started to work hard on issues related to women’s rights and got introduced for the first time to the Convention to Eliminate All Forms
of Discrimination Against Women, and other conventions related to the issue. The long list of laws and conventions on human rights started to become part of my daily life. Now, there is not a day that passes without my being confronted with situations in which basic rights have been violated and I want to remind the whole world of them. Gradually I started to think that if my daily writings, published features, news items and lectures centered around respect for human rights, shouldn’t I pay more attention to how I as a person practice what I preach? That was when I decided that I had to be aware of how my decisions affected others or violated their basic rights, and I take that into account in my daily decision-making. I think that at this point in my life I consider myself not a human rights advocate or defender but rather just a human being living in a world that has neglected the rights of a large percentage of humans and created a need for us to remind ourselves and the world of it in our daily routine. Khawla Mattar is the director of the United Nations Information Center in Cairo.
often remained at the level of the law, the paper pledges. The State of Palestine acceded to the Convention against Torture in April 2014. The prohibition of torture has been strengthened in some national legislation, notably in Tunisia and Libya. These are positive steps, but governments cannot expect that they alone will shield their record on preventing torture in practice from criticism. Morocco is a case in point. It acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, which requires state parties to set up an independent mechanism to monitor places of detention, on Nov. 24. Amnesty International welcomed the move, but, at the same time, raised the alarm that, since the launch of its “Stop Torture” campaign, which includes a focus on Morocco, the authorities have restricted its activities in the country, including banning an annual youth camp it has organized there every year without interference since 1998. Such activities are part of Amnesty International’s human rights education work, which we believe to be fundamental for preventing torture and other human rights abuses by ensuring that younger generations know that freedom from torture is not a luxury but a basic right – enshrined not only in the Convention against Torture, but also in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – that each one of us, everywhere and every day, is entitled to enjoy. One new year’s resolution that every government in the region could make is to open its record on torture up to greater scrutiny, by, for example, taking seriously its reporting obligations to the U.N. committee that oversees implementation of the Convention against Torture, inviting the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture to visit and allowing human rights organizations into detention centers. These would be important first steps toward tackling the problem. Philip Luther is the director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.
wednesday, december 10, 2014
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2014
Moving away from the death penalty in the Middle East and North Africa region By Mona Rishmawi
he United Nations has long advocated the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances. The death penalty is hard to reconcile with fundamental human rights, most notably the right to life. Since adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which asserts the human right to life, there has been the accelerating worldwide progress towards abolition of the death penalty. Back then, 66 years ago, only 14 countries had abolished the death penalty, mostly in South America. Currently, around 160 countries in the world have either abolished the death penalty, introduced a moratorium or do not practice it. The support for abolition resonates across regions, legal systems, traditions, customs and religious backgrounds. Year after year, more countries are turning away from the death penalty. This is also reflected in the increasingly wide support for moratorium or suspension of executions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. In particular, we are encouraged by the fact that, from this region, Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Qatar, Palestine and Tunisia are maintaining a de facto moratorium or have not executed anyone for more than ten years. Under article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – a core international human rights treaty widely ratified by states in the Middle East and North Africa region – the death penalty is carefully formulated as an exception to the right to life that may be imposed “only for the most serious crimes” in countries which have not abolished the death penalty. It also
provides that the death penalty cannot be imposed for offences committed by persons below 18 years of age. States that maintain the death penalty must ensure scrupulous respect for due process guarantees, including the presumption of innocence. In accordance with the Human Rights Committee, the imposition of a death sentence upon conclusion of a trial in which the provisions of article 14 of the ICCPR have not been respected constitutes a violation of the right to life. ICCPR also provides that “nothing in this article shall be invoked to delay or to prevent the abolition of capital punishment by any State Party to the present Covenant” (paragraph. 6, article 6). This abolitionist move materialized in 1989 through the adoption of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR. As of today, a total of 81 States have ratified or
acceded to this protocol. In the MENA region, Djibouti has been a pioneer in the full abolition of the death penalty and the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR. Most recently, in the last month, the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly has adopted its fifth resolution on a moratorium – with the support of an increased record number of states. We are pleased to see that Algeria was one of the sponsors of this resolution, and also voted in favor of the adoption of it, along with Tunisia. In its new resolution, the General Assembly renews its calls on “States that still maintain the death penalty to progressively restrict its use, to reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed,” and “to establish a moratorium on execution with a view to abolishing the death penalty.”
Violence against women: A daily practice exacerbated by societal and state denial By Mozn Hassan
n the occasion of Dec. 10, the world is celebrating International Human Rights Day and remembering millions who are facing human rights violations daily in different countries. However, the real lingering question is: how many people are thinking about women who are facing daily violence against them in public and private spheres? And how many of those consider what women face daily to be a crime? One of the most problematic issues in tackling violence against women is the fact that such violence is widely accepted in many societies. This makes the work of independent activists in this area harder. Normalizing violence against women in different societies and allowing for it in laws increases the level of violence women face and results in many of the perpetrators being free, and not even facing any sort of stigma from their societies connected with their actions. Violence against women is a deeply rooted practice in many parts of the world, including the Arab region. After 2011 and the beginnings of revolutions in the region, the number of women who have been participating in the public sphere has increased. Those
women came to public sphere in spite of the abuse and violence that they face in their private lives. They face attempts to exclude them from the public sphere. Women have been facing systematic sexual violence and this has been reported repeatedly in the past by both state and non-state actors. On this day when we are remembering human rights violations around the world, let us think of the more-than 500 survivors of sexual violence and gang rape in squares in Egypt in the last three years and the millions of Arab women who are facing daily sexual harassment, marital rapes, beating, unsafe abortion, female genital mutilation or violence based on their sexual identities. Let us think of those Syrian, Libyan, Iraqi and Sudanese women who are facing rape as a method of war against them. Think about Iraqi women who have been sold in squares and those who are facing jail, torture and sexual abuse in the police stations and prisons just because they refused to abide by the norms in our region. Remembering those women should not be done occasionally, on the International Day of Human Rights, or during the International Day of Combating Violence Against Women. We should remember that injustice for those
women is caused by the denial of the existence of this violence or these patriarchal norms. We should think of those who survived different kinds of violence and struggled to move forward in their lives. We have to think of those we do not know and those who passed away without our knowing them and their stories, and the perpetrators of violence who continue to lead normal lives. We are living in a region that rarely criminalizes violence against women, and in which there is often not even any sort of stigma connected with it. Struggling against violence against women is at the core of the human rights movement to combat inequality, injustice, unfairness and abuse. This movement can succeed if different actors support the activists and feminists who are working hard to make women’s bodies and roles matter. On this day, let us remember those women who have survived violence and sincerely apologize to those who left us because of violence that we couldn’t prevent, and celebrate different movements combating violence against women in the world. Mozn Hassan is a feminist and human rights defender from Egypt, working at Nazra for Feminist Studies.
This leads me to a question, frequently asked: why should states establish a moratorium, or the death penalty be abolished? Let me highlights few reasons. First, the taking of life is too absolute, too irreversible, for one human being to inflict it on another, even when backed by legal process. Moreover, we must acknowledge that no judiciary, anywhere in the world, is so robust that it can guarantee that innocent life will not be taken. There is an alarming body of evidence to indicate that even well functioning legal systems have sentenced to death men and women who were subsequently proven innocent. Second, another strong reason for abolition relates to the lack of merit in the common assertion that the death penalty has a deterrent effect. There is no evidence that the death penalty deters crime any more than other forms of punishment. Some member states have been insisting on the death penalty for their own specific reasons. Some think they need it to fight terrorism or to fight drug trafficking. It is not the severity of punishment that deters wrongdoers, but its certainty. To curb crimes, the focus should therefore be on reforming the justice system and rendering it more effective, while also ensuring that it is humane. Then, there is the issue of discrimination. Who is being executed? Our research shows that it’s usually marginalized groups. Executed individuals are largely poor and/or belong to ethnic, national or religious minorities, or belong to a vulnerable part of the society, such as migrants – and in that sense, there is no justice when applying the death penalty. From some states and their leaders, we sometimes hear that public opinion is in
favor of the death penalty. But that’s a question of leadership. Human progress does not stand still. Popular support for the death penalty today does not mean that it will still be there tomorrow. There are undisputed historical precedents in which laws, policies and practices that were inconsistent with human rights standards had the support of a majority of the people, but were proven wrong and eventually abolished or banned. We commend states on the use of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process of the Human Rights Council to advance the moratorium of the death penalty. We are encouraged to note that more than 500 recommendations on a moratorium and the ratification of the second optional protocol to the ICCPR were made during the first cycle of the UPR process; and the concerned states accepted a large number of those recommendations. This trend continues in the current cycle. In particular, several states from this region extended positive response to many UPR recommendations on the death penalty. I strongly believe that one day, future generations will look back and wonder how it was possible that the death penalty ever existed – just like, in most societies today, it is already hard to understand how slavery could ever have been allowed. I hope that “one day” is not far away. A moratorium, and the eventual abolition of the death penalty, will undoubtedly enhance the rights of all humankind, starting with our most sacred right of all, the right to life. Mona Rishmawi is the chief of the Rule of Law, Non-Discrimination and Equality Branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
wednesday, december 10, 2014
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2014
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
hereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people, Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law, Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations, Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge, Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
Article 1. G All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Article 2. G Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty. Article 3. G Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. Article 4. G No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms. Article 5. G No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 6. G Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law. Article 7. G All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination. Article 8. G Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law. Article 9. G No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. Article 10. G Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him. Article 11. G (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. G (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed. Article 12. G No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. Article 13. G (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. G (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Article 14. G (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. G (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. Article 15. G (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. G (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality. Article 16. G (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. G (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. G (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State. Article 17.
G (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. G (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property. Article 18. G Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. Article 19. G Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Article 20. G (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. G (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association. Article 21. G (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. G (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. G (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures. Article 22. G Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality. Article 23. G (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. G (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. G (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. G (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests. Article 24. G Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay. Article 25. G (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and
well-being of himself and of his â€œThe 30-Flower HR Treeâ€? symbolizes family, including the 30 articles of the Declaration. food, clothing, housing and medical The drawing was contributed by Nabil care and necessary Abu-Dargham, who has been in the social services, and service of the U.N. since 1989. He holds a the right to security Masterâ€™s degree from the Fletcher in the event of unemSchool of Law and Diplomacy. Painting ployment, sickness, is his hobby. disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. G (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection. literary or artistic production of which he Article 26. is the author. G (1) Everyone has the right to eduArticle 28. cation. Education shall be free, at least G Everyone is entitled to a social and in the elementary and fundamental international order in which the rights stages. Elementary education shall be and freedoms set forth in this Declaracompulsory. Technical and professional tion can be fully realized. education shall be made generally availArticle 29. able and higher education shall be equalG (1) Everyone has duties to the comly accessible to all on the basis of merit. munity in which alone the free and full G (2) Education shall be directed to development of his personality is possithe full development of the human per- ble. sonality and to the strengthening of G (2) In the exercise of his rights and respect for human rights and fundamen- freedoms, everyone shall be subject only tal freedoms. It shall promote under- to such limitations as are determined by standing, tolerance and friendship law solely for the purpose of securing among all nations, racial or religious due recognition and respect for the rights groups, and shall further the activities of and freedoms of others and of meeting the United Nations for the maintenance the just requirements of morality, public of peace. order and the general welfare in a demG (3) Parents have a prior right to ocratic society. choose the kind of education that shall G (3) These rights and freedoms may be given to their children. in no case be exercised contrary to the Article 27. purposes and principles of the United G (1) Everyone has the right freely Nations. Article 30. to participate in the cultural life of the G Nothing in this Declaration may be community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its bene- interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in fits. G (2) Everyone has the right to the any activity or to perform any act aimed protection of the moral and material at the destruction of any of the rights and interests resulting from any scientific, freedoms set forth herein.
A supplement by the United Nations, Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner