All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…really!?
December the 10th was the International Day of Human Rights and this year, it marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. In the preamble, the General Assembly proclaims it is a common standard of achievement for all people and all nations.
The same day, Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege and the Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad each received the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict”, reminding us that in most places in the world, it is still a target and not yet a reality.
Nobel Peace Prize laureates Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad
In Denis Mukwege’s acceptance speech, several sentences strongly echoed some articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
“The human cost […] has been hundreds of thousands of women raped, over 4 million people displaced within the country and the loss of 6 million human lives.”
Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Article 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
“For several months […] It had instilled fear by killing a human rights defender who had had the courage to report the facts. The deputy got away with no consequences. His parliamentary immunity enabled him to abuse with impunity.”
Article 29. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
“Rape, massacres, torture, widespread insecurity and a flagrant lack of education create a spiral of unprecedented violence.”
But the main takeaway from the reading was to underline the core cause of these exactions: Greed! Greed of a Congolese oligarchy that corners the profit from mineral resources, greed of manufacturers that buy cheaper raw materials thanks to child labor and absence of taxes, greed of customers that want the latest trending cell-phones, jewelry and electric cars for the cheapest prices possible. It stresses also the fact that everyone that “turns a blind eye to this tragedy is being complicit” and with “the most powerful communication technology ever, no one can say: I didn’t know”.
So, as customers, as political leaders, as members of the international community and just as human beings, we no longer can stay indifferent to this situation and have to fight it with our own means. Then the Declaration of Human Rights has a chance to really achieve what it set out to do all those years ago.