Human Rights Current Affairs
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The International Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10 to commemorate adaptation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On this day in 1948, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)— then headquartered in Paris — ratified Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Of the 58 member states, 48 voted in favour of the resolution, while eight abstained and two failed to vote. Observance of the day seeks to encourage, support and amplify measures to be taken by everyone to defend human rights. The theme for this year is ‘Stand Up For Human Rights’.
On this day in 1948, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had adopted and proclaimed Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. It was adopted as shared standard yard stick to protect human rights across the globe. It recognizes inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of mankind as the foundation of justice, freedom and peace in the world. The Human Rights Day was formally established at the 317th Plenary Meeting of the UNGA on 4 December 1950.
The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights (UN Human Rights Prize) was announced recently by María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of United Nations General Assembly. The winners of 2018 award are:
- Asma Jahangir – Pakistan’s late human rights activist
- Rebeca Gyumi – A Tanzanian human rights activist
- Joenia Wapichana – Brazil’s first indigenous lawyer
- Front Line Defenders – A human rights organisation of Ireland
About the UN Human Rights Prize
These awards were instituted by the General Assembly of United Nations in 1966 and are intended to honour and commend people and organizations which have done outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other United Nations human rights instruments. The first awards were given in 1968 and are given every five years since then.
About 2018 Winners
Late Asma Jahangir (died Feb. 2018) was the fourth Pakistani woman to receive the prestigious award. She was an advocate from Pakistan, known for her persistent advocating for women’s rights and discrimination against minorities. She was first woman to serve as president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan. She was critical of Pakistan’s military, intelligence and armed groups. She faced death threats, imprisonments and beatings several times. She co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan; helped passing of a legislation against bonded labour in Pakistan; and worked on blasphemy cases.
Rebecca Gyumi is a Tanzanian advocate and founder of the Msichana Initiative in Tanzania. This is an NGO which advocates for girls’ right to education. In 2016, Gyumi had won a landmark case on child marriages after petitioning against the 1971 Tanzania Marriage Act which allowed girls as young as 14 to get married.
Joenia Wapichana is an indigenous lawyer from northern Brazil, and she became first indigenous woman to be elected to the Congress. She was the first indigenous lawyer to speak in front of the Supreme Federal Court and more than a decade before that she became the first indigenous person to graduate from law school in the country.
Front Line Defenders
Front Line Defenders is an Ireland based charity that provides support to human rights defenders having lives and health at risk through advocacy, grants, security and training. It was founded in 2001 in Ireland’s capital, Dublin.
Trivia: So far, only one Indian personality – Baba Amte has been awarded United Nations Human Rights Prize. Baba Amte was given this prize in 1988.