“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. … Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Human Rights Day is observed on 10 December every year. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted in the year 1984 by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris. Drafted by representatives from different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world the document proclaims the basic rights which everyone is entitled to as human beings – regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, color, language etc. The rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.
The theme for Human Rights Day 2020 is Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights which is related to the covid-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back the society better by ensuring that Human Rights are the basic foundations to the recovery effort. In a Covid affected world we will have to create equal opportunities for all, only then will we be able to reach our common global goals in terms of Human Rights.
In India, most of the underprivileged population resides in rural areas and urban slums. People are deprived of basic human rights mostly because they are unaware and illiterate about the rights they can exercise. As a result they are deprived. In a crisis situation such as Covid-19; women, children and the elderly are the most affected sections. Hungers, illness, shelter, having little or no knowledge about Covid-19 precautions have been the most pressing problems in the current scenario.
The need of the hour is to end discrimination of every kind. The first step is to end structural discrimination against women especially underprivileged women and the poor population. Structural discrimination is rules or norms and behavior of institutions and other societal structures. They create obstacles to groups or individuals in achieving the same rights and opportunities that are available to the majority of the population.
By addressing inequalities and by the promotion of economic, cultural and social rights everyone can play a crucial role in development. We must encourage participation from all sections of the community to build a more sustainable post-Covid society. We need to ensure that the voices of the most vulnerable and underprivileged are heard and their problems are addressed.
With the vision of the bringing sustainable change through the life-cycle approach of development Smile Foundation through its various programmes is directly benefitting more than 15,00,000 underprivileged children and families every year. With a special focus on education for the underprivileged children, especially girl child education Smile Foundation seeks to empower the society from the grassroots.
Through it’s initiative India Shares Smile Foundation has provided Hunger Survival Kits to children and families in rural areas and urban slums across 22 states of India.
To know more about Smile Foundation visit https://www.smilefoundationindia.org/