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Human Rights Day 2010

December 9, 2010

International Human Rights
Day: December 10, 2010

Tomorrow, December 10, 2010, is International Human Rights Day, which honors the UN General Assembly’s 1948 proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year’s focus is on human rights defenders who act to end discrimination. (See a slide show below with examples of poster art in honor of International Human Rights Day.)

Human rights defenders speak out against abuse and violations including discrimination, exclusion, oppression and violence. They advocate justice and seek to protect the victims of human rights violations. They demand accountability for perpetrators and transparency in government action. In so doing, they are often putting at risk their own safety, and that of their families.
            …The Day is also intended to inspire a new generation of defenders to speak up and take action to end discrimination in all of its forms whenever and wherever it is manifested. 
                                                                         — United Nations Statement

Among the honorees selected by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is Laxmi Khada, whose husband was forcibly disappeared during the decades-long conflict between the government and Maoist rebels in Nepal. She now works with a local Conflict Victims Committee, and has become a leading voice for transitional justice in Nepal.

“Peace is the most important thing for Nepal. Only when victims get justice and our voices are heard can we have lasting peace.
            “When I first heard of a big gathering in the village about conflict victims in Bardiya, I went but I was very afraid and worried…But we’ve come a long way. We are not scared of asking for our rights. We will get justice one day.
            “The Committee is a platform for all the victims. We’re not state victims or Maoist victims anymore. The bottom line is that we’re all victims first. Our needs, pain and sorrow are the same.”
                                                                         — Laxmi Khada, Nepal

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