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Fight for human rights

Posted 12/7/20

This Thursday marks Human Rights Day 2020. As former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home -- so close and so …

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Fight for human rights


This Thursday marks Human Rights Day 2020. As former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home -- so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. [...] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

Each year on December 10 we observe Human Rights Day, because it's on that day that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The document, which is available in over 500 languages, proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being - regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

The day has set themes and with COVID-19 at the center of 2020, this year's focus is on human rights and the rebuilding process. On their website, the UN states, “The COVID-19 crisis has been fuelled by deepening poverty, rising inequalities, structural and entrenched discrimination and other gaps in human rights protection. Only measures to close these gaps and advance human rights can ensure we fully recover and build back a world that is better, more resilient, just, and sustainable.”

Furthermore, they've listed the following human rights and sustainable development goals: End discrimination of any kind; address inequalities; encourage participation and solidarity; and promote sustainable development.

While these goals can certainly be applied across the globe, as Roosevelt eloquently stated, it starts in our backyard.

It's never a bad time to reflect on our beliefs and make an honest determination of whether we are helping to move human rights forward in our communities or if we are hindering progress from taking place.

Let's use discrimination for example.

Earlier this year, there were many peaceful protests that occurred in towns and villages across Sullivan County and the entire country, following the murder of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis Police Department.

The discussion locally, especially on social media, was rather unpleasant.

It was as if it were impossible for someone to support police, yet acknowledge that the actions of those in Minneapolis policeman is unacceptable and that it would be beneficial to reexamine the policies and procedures at each police department (which is something currently taking place across the state).

We use this example because during that time a Facebook post for a news story of a different topic, we had to delete comments for remarks that were clearly discriminatory.

While we respect everyone's right to free speech and have tried to give our readers different channels to give their perspectives on news stories, just like with letters to the editor, commentary that is discriminatory and offensive will not be published.

We do not believe the actions of a few represent the majority of those in our county, as the overwhelming majority of people and communities in our county embrace all lives respective of our differences as well as the important work of our dedicated law enforcement community.

With all we've been through this year with the pandemic, we must work together to build a better future.

And by making sure everyone's rights are respected and protected is how we can do just that.


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