We don’t require a formal declaration that establishes all individuals have equal dignity and worth because it should be as innate as it is incontrovertible. Among the universal human rights listed in the document are life, liberty and security; equality before the law; freedom from persecution; equal rights to marriage and family; equal pay for equal work; an adequate standard of living supporting health and well-being in mind; and education.
Though such rights are inalienable, we see them violated time and again across the globe, particularly among vulnerable and marginalized groups. It is human rights defenders who fight the fight. When one person’s rights are denied, the rights of all are denied.
And when it is women defending the defenseless and giving voice to the voiceless, they put their own rights – life, liberty, security – at risk. During these 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women, UNFPA is focused on safety in all spaces including virtual ones, where women and girls are frequent targets for online abuse and harassment. Women who engage in public spheres for the greater good – activism and advocacy, journalism, politics – are hardly immune.
Such violence is meant to silence, scare, intimidate, and oppress and to drive women out of spaces they belong. To support human rights means to support its defenders, because when they are under attack, so are we all.
Join UNFPA and partners for an event on Dec 10 2021 for a global conversation entitled, Human Rights Day: Defending our Human Right to Sexual and Reproductive Health, register here.