Shortly after World War 2 ended, on December 10th 1948, the world came together and agreed that human rights would never again be compromised.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in Paris that day. One of its opening lines is also one of its most profound: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.
This is an inspiring statement, but since then, women and girls – half of the human race – have not enjoyed freedom or equality anywhere in the world. Today, Human Rights Day, is a time to reflect on our progress and renew our commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
When I started work in the women’s movement in the 1980s, extreme forms of violence such as sex trafficking and female genital mutilation were still not even recognized as human rights violations. The ongoing work of tireless and dedicated front line advocates has helped to change the global landscape so this is no longer the case. Groups such as the Galkayo Center, which is determined to end FGM in Somalia, and Embrace Dignity, which is determined to end sex trafficking in South Africa, are having major success but with very little funding.
We hope that today, in honor of Human Rights Day, you will support them in the work they and so many others do to help make this a world where we are all safe, free and equal.