Human rights day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Interesting to see how human rights day came about the year Palestinians lost their rights as humans and still have not regained them. In 1948 the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) was a milestone document that the United Nations came up with to solidify and make it universally known that everyone is entitled as a human being - regardless of race, color, language, religion, sex, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is compelling to see how each year passes and yet there are still many who are treated as less than what this document declares them to be solely because of who they are and where they come from. Palestinians are no strangers to this sort of neglect.
Each year there is a theme to follow, and this years theme is going to be "Equality."
As the theme for this year is equality the goal is to work on reducing inequalities, and advancing human rights. This includes addressing and finding solutions for deep rooted forms of discrimination that have affected the most vulnerable people in societies, including women and girls, indigenous peoples, people of African decent, LGBTI people, immigrants and people with disabilities, amongst others. From a Palestinian standpoint we would love to see a world in which we are treated as equals and are respected and seen as people who have been neglected and stripped of our own culture and identity. It’s always mind-boggling to see how each year, on Human Rights Day, Palestinians and what they go through are highly neglected and not equally considered in each year‘s theme, especially this one as we are strangers to the concept of equality Another aspect in which the United Nations wants to work on advancing human rights this year is by rebuilding better, fairer, and greener. Those are all incredible goals, but I do not feel that they are successful until my people are included, the Palestinian people.
A human rights based economy can break cycles of poverty - many of the people in Palestine are struggling to make ends meet, and this is a clear reaction to the lack of human rights for the Palestinian people.
Rebuilding fairer: a new social contract - this goal aims to include economic social and cultural rights as well as the right to development and the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, that are central to building a new human rights based economy that supports better and fair societies for present and future generations. As we all know, in Palestine, settlers have the right to have the army on their side, and blatantly kick people out of their homes for the sake of wanting to rebuild and take over their land unlawfully and disrespectfully. So if this is a goal for the United Nations to attain, I truly do hope that they apply this to the Palestinian people who have been deprived of living in their homes.
Equal opportunities for the youth- Their (the youth) rights are protected, including through decent jobs and social protection, the Covid generation runs the risk of falling prey to the detrimental effects of mounting inequality and poverty. When we take a look at how Palestinians were given nearly expired Covid vaccines, and how they were treated during the tough times of Covid it is very clear to see the Palestinian people were disregarded and overlooked amidst the difficult times during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s disheartening to see how this occurrence will negatively affect our generation to come.
Preventing conflict and building resilience through equality, inclusion and human rights - Human rights have the power to tackle the root cause of conflict and crisis, by addressing grievances, eliminating inequalities and exclusion and allowing people to participate in decision making that affect their lives. The IOF has long time stripped Palestinians of the right to be included in decision making, being treated fairly, and being respected so to say that human rights works to tackle root causes of conflict, but still leave the Palestinian people living under the merciless despair of the Israeli forces shows how The United Nations is lacking in protecting the very lives that they publicly expressed should be all treated as “equal.“
All in all, as today is human rights day it’s important to remember that the Palestinian people are lacking the ability to live freely and experience life in a way that is not torturous and detrimental to their well-being as well as generations to come. The Palestinian people have not seen mercy since 1948 which is ironically the same year that the United Nations decided to release the document which promotes equality and fair treatment of all people regardless of who they are and where they come from. Why does it always feel like Israel is exempted from treating the Palestinian people as we would expect anyone or any country to treat any human being, and that is with dignity and respect.