Across the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, human rights continue to be violated by governments, dictators and armed militias. However, wherever human rights violations occur, there are brave men, women, children and young people standing up to fight for freedom, justice, equality and the right to free speech and association.
The NEU salutes these human rights defenders and pledges ongoing solidarity to all those in struggle. Among the many groups and individuals fighting for their human rights. This year, we particularly pay tribute to:
- The young women in Afghanistan fighting for their right to education.
- The women in Iran risking their lives for the right to determine what they can wear and who they can associate with.
- Trade unionists in Sudan leading the struggle for democracy and freedom.
- The people of Palestine, resisting blockade, dispossession, occupation, and violent attacks yet continuing to assert their right to homes, land and self-determination.
- The Rohingya people who continue to articulate their human rights despite the Burmese/Myanmar regime refusing to acknowledge them as citizens forcibly expelling half of the Rohingya population from the country.
- Trade unionists across the world fighting for recognition and the right to free association.
Seventy four years after the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, its provisions are as necessary now as they were then.
In the UK, the government is seeking to “opt out” of parts of the European convention on human rights in order to speed up deportations of asylum seekers and protect British troops serving overseas from legal action. And just this week the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK will target a group of about two dozen countries for long-term diplomatic partnerships, involving the downgrading of a longstanding commitment to human rights as a prerequisite for close relations with the UK.