On December 10, every year, we are reminded of our responsibilities. We commemorate the importance of securing sacrosanct rights and recognize necessary future actions. Human Rights Day serves as an illuminating manifestation of past progress but also modern injustice. There are countless human rights that we deserve. Although many exist, they are certainly not all respected. As established by the UN, the theme recognized this year is equality and inclusion. With a society as diverse as ever, this foundational right could not fit any better. Cognisance of the past, the present, and future is essential on Humans Rights Day.
A Year of Challenge: In America, the pandemic shed light on a growing culture of animosity. With the growing myth of China creating COVID-19 and the place of blame on Chinese people, tensions got out of hand. Racially-motivated violence and discrimination in public facilities characterized America. Store signs shouted out slurs, permeating atrocious messages. The virus uprooted the nation’s underlying inequality. At the same time, race wasn’t the only factor in important decisions. Sexual orientation, gender, religion, and identity also played a monumental role in the workplace. Although basing decisions on such factors is thought to be a theme of the past, it still prevails today. Employment inequality and educational disparities have bled into the statistics. African Americans and minority groups chiefly remain the most impoverished. These flaws are engraved into our society — today, we must think about how to erase these flaws. Conditions, however, fare far worse in other countries. In Afghanistan, with the rise of the Taliban, women are grossly mistreated. By restricting women from the basic facets of life, the Taliban erode all hopes of equality. It’s an absurd step backward. Meanwhile, South Africa remains the most unequal country in terms of wealth. Such asymmetry has left millions in starvation and poverty — yet policies still neglect the poor. The targeted conflict that erupted in Myanmar had a similar effect. While Rohingya Muslims experience the genocide of their people, they suffer immense disadvantages. Recognizing such atrocities is the essential step to solving them.
A Year of Success: Nevertheless, the United States has seen some effective policies. The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine was rightful in its priorities while also being accessible, monetarily and regionally, to everyone. Despite common thought, orchestrating vaccine policies to be effective and rightful is a daunting task. Along with the brutal acts of violence, some by the nation’s foundational body, came the creation of the BLM movement. Its work to achieve equitability and just treatment has been particularly commendable. With tremendous acknowledgment all over the nation, the next step is action. Finally, some economic policies have helped mitigate inequality. The onslaught of stimulus checks given to those in dire need precipitated less poverty and better living conditions. Success was evident, but we must ask ourselves: Did its effects outweigh the challenges?
A Hazy Future: We live in an age of polarization. Where one decision may seem logical, another party will disagree. Division has become so rampant to the point where consensus is near impossible. Sometimes, parties disagree just for the sake of dissension — with no reason. This framework is terrible for a nation trying to further equality and secure human rights. No-brainer legislation, removing discrimination, mustn’t be rejected for the objective of politics. But the first step is creating such laws that will genuinely enforce fairness. We need organizations to advocate and educate. Society must be willing to adapt to a bright, inclusive future.
Your Responsibility: Preserving human rights is a pressing issue. If we neglect the cause, we partake in exacerbating it. While acknowledging is one part, actively participating is more valuable. Join and donate to organizations such as the UN charter and Amnesty International. The lack of public support has blunted the advancement of equality. Equality has widely progressed backward, sometimes reaching the fever pitch of genocide. With the year coming to an end, Human Rights Day is our reminder to propel forward progression and opportunity to on past injustice.