#Article (Archive)

UN boss has said it all

Dec 8, 2010, 10:48 AM

The Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon has called on all to be inspired by those seeking to make our world more just.

“On this Human Rights Day, let us be inspired by those seeking to make our world more just. And let us remember that everyone -- no matter their background, training or education -- can be a human rights champion,” he said in his World Human Rights Day 2010 message.

The UN boss’s call should be heeded by all, as human rights defenders play a vital role in the fight against discrimination. They investigate violations, and help victims gain justice and support.

It is a well known fact that human rights violations happen in many of our countries around our continent, and this is why all hands must be on deck by all and sundry so that we as a people do all it takes in tackling the lack of respect for human rights.

Believe it or not, in the contemporary world, respect for human rights, press freedom and freedom of expression is a major guarantee for acceptance in the international community.

It is so because of the widely held belief that freedom of expression safeguards human rights and promotes democracy and sustainable development.

Human rights, therefore, encompass not only the right to personal safety and security, but also give due regard to health, education, gender equality and child rights, etc. Everyday concerns, such as issues of access to safe drinking water, basic health care, clean air free from pollution, access to means of transport and communication, all have much to do with human rights.

“States bear the primary responsibility to protect human rights advocates. When the lives of human rights advocates are endangered, we are all less secure,” the UN boss said.

Indeed, many a problem that Africans are facing today on all fronts underscore the need for the general public to expand their perception of what constitutes their rights, and exert themselves more fully in obtaining respect for these rights.

One can argue that for human rights to become truly embedded in a country’s society and culture, the change has to start with checks on government power.

African governments should take respect for basic human rights as a starting point.

The pursuit of human rights in Africa as a core value should be nurtured.

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”

Thomas Jefferson