Today is Human Right’s Day, which this year marks the 70th anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document affirms the international consensus on the inalienable rights of all humans equally, with no differentiation in these rights or in the tools to protect said rights for reasons of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, political affiliation, origin, or status with regard to birth, nationality, and social or economic class.
Though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights functions predominantly as an expression of shared values of equality, justice, and human rights, its resilience in the face of many decades of shifting relationships within the international community demonstrates the strength of this shared platform of values that must be upheld. The resilience of these shared values has proven itself against many tests since the drafting of the document, and this strength of international intent to support its values must prove itself through the concrete policy action and project development at all levels of society and government within national frameworks, as well as through international collaboration in the work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.
As one of our world’s most vulnerable populations and the least capable of self-advocacy and protection, children’s rights are an essential component in the protection of Human Rights. Children represent 32% of the global population and more than half of the population in many developing countries. They are twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty, which exposes them to the dangers of inequality and human rights violations. We fail to uphold our international values of Human Rights for an extremely large portion of our world’s population when we fail to protect our children’s rights and fight to ensure their equality of opportunity and access. Such a failure not only constitutes one of our world’s most extreme rights violations but also endangers the prospects of our world’s future by diminishing the potential for our future generations to become active and participatory agents of sustainable development. We must all consider how to shape our future, and we must do so by helping to create better systems to uphold and defend the rights and opportunities of every human, and especially every child.