“Stand up for someone’s rights today!”… was the theme announced by the UN for this year’s Human Rights Day celebrations.
The violation of women’s rights is a widespread phenomenon. To accept that the Human Rights of women and men are essentially equal is a very difficult proposition, especially in the Indian milieu. Despite the Right to Freedom and Equality being laid down in the Indian Constitution, in reality it is observed that women are neither free nor given equal status. For a majority of women, not only is asserting their Right to Ownership of Property a pipedream, but even enjoying the basic amenities such as food, clothing, education, healthcare and having a say in matters on an equal bases as their male counterparts, is unacceptable by society. In an environment where women are not accepted as human beings and are confined to the status of personal property or domesticated animals, the need to sound the bugle was strongly felt.
The very first act of sounding the bugle on the issue of Human Rights of Women was led by Shri Hansaben Mehta from Gujarat. She represented India at the UN Human Rights Declaration in 1948 and was responsible for changing the language of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from ‘all men are equal’ to ‘all human beings’; thus highlighting the need for gender equality. As is well known, Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.
This year, Human Rights Day called on everyone to stand up for someone’s rights and reaffirm our common goal to make a real difference and stand for humanity.
AWAG has been active on the issues related to women’s rights, dignity and gender equality. One of the important reasons to celebrate Human Rights day at AWAG is to advocate and reaffirm its purpose on the importance of ‘equal rights’. This year too, the organization commemorated the day by participating in an event at Lal Darwaja, Ahmedabad in collaboration with other local organizations including Movement of secular democracy (MSD) and Peoples Union for Civil Society (PUCL). Among other speakers, Ms Sara Baldiwala from AWAG presented her views on the effects of the recent move of Demonetization on women.
Let’s all recall the fundamental message/ sine qua non… “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.”
– Ms. Sara Baldiwala, AWAG