On Saturday, the country paused to observe International Human Rights Day. The rest of the world celebrated as well.
The observance also marked the end of the ’16 Days of Activism’ initiative.
Human Rights Day is recognized on December 10 each year, and the theme for this year’s observation is “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All.”
It was formally established in 1950, and has been geared toward addressing global issues such as discrimination, diversity, education, freedom, poverty, torture, and equality – all over the last decade.
The 16 Days of Activism, meanwhile, kicked off on November 25 – recognized annually as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The initiative is meant to end violence against women and girls, and encourages community groups, the private sector, NGOs and others to join in the message.
The Directorate of Gender Affairs here in Antigua has been on an education campaign throughout the period, in a bid to sensitize the public about the importance of protecting women and girls from harm.
Meanwhile the US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas Greenfield said in an address Saturday that world has become a better place for the dignity and rights of human beings since 1948.
Most countries, she says have embraced the basic concepts but unfortunately, we still witness many instances where human rights are violated, abused, or threatened by governments and non-state actors.
“Cultural, religious, and ethnic identities are being suppressed violently and systematically. Throughout the PRC, we see widespread abuses of the rights of those exercising their fundamental freedoms. In addition, Uyghurs, Tibetans, and other ethnic minorities routine abuses of the civil and political right and repression of their distinct religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage. We see the Burmese military’s ongoing repression and killing of Rohingya and members of other ethnic and religious groups amid the regime’s escalating violence across the country. Civilians in Ukraine have endured rape, torture, and killings by members of Russia’s invasion forces. And in the DPRK, we continue to see state-led repression of the fundamental freedoms of much of the population,” she added.
According to the Ambassador, Gender-based violence persists globally, offline and online, including particularly severe abuses in places like Iran, where the regime’s security forces continue a brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors demanding respect for human rights following the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, and Afghanistan, where atrocities are being conducted with impunity and the Taliban’s oppressive and cruel regime knows no bounds in suppressing the rights of women and girls.
“Most of these abuses have taken place at the hands of UN Member States that have betrayed their most solemn sovereign commitment – to ensure the protection and promotion of universal human rights,” she added.