We celebrate International Human Rights Day 2021 under the theme Equality: that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. This takes place on December 10, to commemorate the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 73 years ago.
The declaration includes a wide range of human rights and fundamental freedoms which we all have the right to enjoy wherever we are in the world. The declaration guarantees our rights without any discrimination based on nationality, place of residence, sex, ethnic origin, religion, language or any other status.
Over the years, the declaration has been accepted as a contract between governments and their people. Almost all countries have accepted it.
The Arab Organization for Education, Culture and Science considers education, culture and science to be among the most important rights to be shared among peoples, because every individual has the right to study, to learn learn and enjoy the culture and the arts so that people progress. towards a bright future.
ALECSO is keen to make all possible efforts to contribute to the development of the best educational and scientific programs in the conviction that science and learning are the cornerstones of the development and prosperity of peoples.
The question now is: can a human rights-based economy provide the necessary needs for human beings?
The greatest global challenge facing our time, especially in the Arab world, is the lack of basic human needs. Meeting this challenge effectively requires action rooted in human rights, renewed political commitment and the involvement of all stakeholders.
The sustainable economy based on justice, human rights and the right to sustainable development in its three aspects: economic, social and environmental, are essential to the construction of a new society, an economy and a human rights-based environment, and this supports societies in better, more equitable and sustainable ways for present and future generations. Therefore, an economy based on human rights must form the basis of the new social contract.
We are now richer in terms of “sustainable social development” because we are currently going through a period of geopolitical transition. We are going through successive financial and health crises that have long-term and multidimensional effects, especially on millions of young people.
Unless their rights are protected, including decent jobs and social protection, the COVID-19 generation is at risk of falling prey to the damaging effects of deepening inequalities and poverty.
It also shows the importance of sustainable environmental development, as environmental degradation, especially climate change, pollution and destruction of nature, greatly affects individuals, groups and peoples who live in fragile conditions. and lack a clean and healthy environment.
These effects exacerbate pre-existing inequalities and have a negative impact on the human rights of present and future generations.
I now speak of human rights in the Arab world in light of the spread of the pandemic and other disasters.
In July 2021, United Nations reports on the impact of the crisis on countries in the Arab world said the region, home to an estimated 436 million people, initially maintained infection and death rates below the world average, but things quickly became “a matter of concern”, due to insufficient primary health care in many countries.
The pandemic has also exacerbated decades-old challenges, such as violence and conflict, inequality, unemployment, poverty, inadequate social safety nets and insufficiently responsive systems. The double shock of the pandemic and low oil prices prompted the International Monetary Fund to cut its economic forecast for East and North Africa to its lowest level in 50 years.
The number of poor is expected to reach 115 million, which represents a quarter of the region’s population.
The International Monetary Fund says many of the new poor are predominantly from the middle classes. If the poverty rate persists for a long time, political and social stability will be threatened. Especially since many countries in the region have taken exceptional measures to deal with the pandemic but have often used the pandemic as an excuse to impose excessive restrictions.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing more appropriate than human rights for preventing conflict, violence and unrest, and for building resilience through equality, inclusion and non-discrimination.
Human rights have the power to address the root causes of conflict and crisis, responding to grievances, eliminating inequalities and exclusion, and enabling people to participate in decisions that affect their lives.
Societies that protect and promote human rights for all are more robust and resilient societies and are better prepared through human rights to manage disasters, including the consequences of global warming, and respond to unexpected crises such as the pandemic.
Equality, inclusion and non-discrimination are at the heart of sustainable development. The realization of human rights for all ensures that people enjoy the human rights benefits of development, but when certain people or groups of people are excluded or discriminated against, the inequality inevitably leads to a cycle of conflict and crisis.
I ask God that the celebration of Human Rights Day 2021 will be an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in rebuilding the world we want, and the need for global solidarity, our interdependence and our common humanity.