Monday, December 10, 2007

International Human Rights Day 2007

Today, December 10th 2007, is the International Human Rights Day, it is also the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In its official website, the UN Secretary General, Bn Ki Moon, states that "It is our duty to ensure that these rights are a living reality -- that they are known, understood and enjoyed by everyone, everywhere. It is often those who most need their human rights protected, who also need to be informed that the Declaration exists -- and that it exists for them. "

What is Human Rights ?

The draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have 30 articles. For full details of these declaration, please visit The United Nations Universal Declaration Of Human Rights. Some of the articles in the declarations are :

Article 1 : All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2 : Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

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 18 : Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 20 : Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Sad to note that, In Malaysia, the celebration of International Human Rights Day is marred by the arrest of a small number of lawyers who participated in a "peaceful walk in the street". In Article 20 of the United Nations' declaration, peaceful assembly is consider a fundamental foundation of human rights. But in Malaysia, peaceful assembly is deemed illegal by the authority because of the fear of causing "disturbance of peace". As a developing nation going forward to achieve developed status, we have to serve this noble international commitment honourably, we can not forever using this fear as bogeyman to suppress basic human rights.

It is also very sad to note that, after more than 50 years of statehood, Malaysians are still preoccupied with seeking, demanding, expanding, and defending individualistic racial, cultural, and religious rights at the expense of other Malaysians. When would all Malaysians be able to be educated and learned to entitle all Malaysians with equal rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status ?

At the moment, looking at recent happenings, I am honestly disillusioned. It does seemed to me that, human rights in Malaysia is an illusory contradictions.

Honestly, I do wonder, how many of our law makers are well versed with our constitution and the articles enshrined inside the Universal Declarations Of Human Rights. To appreciate international human rights standards, perhaps for a start, it is about time, Malaysia engage the the office of United Nations to conduct courses and indoctrinated better understanding of universal human rights for our members of parliament, members of state assemblies, and senators. It is never too late to learn, accept, implement, and to comply to international expectations honourably.

May all Malaysians be able to stand united in this blessed land, equal in dignity, rights, and pride. May Malaysia take an honourable place in the United Nations and be respected in the eyes of the free world.

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