All Human Beings Are Born Free & Equal in Dignity and Rights

Article one of the Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with a reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood’.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 as ‘a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations’. People around the world, from today onward, get ready to a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the UDHR. In this occasion, it is our responsibility to look back on our journey towards today, to assess the successes and failures and to determine a path for the future.

After completing the draft of the UDHR, Ms. Eleanor Roosevelt stated that “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.”

The UDHR promotes general principles, which includes ‘All Human Beings Are Born Free & Equal in Dignity and Rights’, and the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights to reshape the world to ensure a better place to live with dignity, irrespective of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

We, all as nations, communities and people, have achieved a lot, in different levels; rights and freedom. Even if all kinds of discrimination have not been eliminated by some of the countries through their domestic laws and practices, equality between men and women, and the gender equality has been tabled largely on the world discourses and programmes.

While most of the Sustainable Development Goals and its Targets and Indicators are sensitive on gender equality, Goal FIVE is fully devoted to ‘Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls’. The Target FIVE of Goal FIVE is ‘Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life’ and the indicator 5.b. is ‘Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development promises to leave no one behind —– human rights must be the bedrock for all progress moving forward.

We, the Asian Press Institute, together with our team: the readers, writers, interns and volunteers, members of the Board, and members of staff, with their volunteerism, support and high commitment have reached our fifth milestone today. The Asian Press Institute through its web wires during the past FIVE years, using the information and communication technology, has created a place for women in many countries to voice out their voices, and bridging them to/with the relevant duty bearers.
Our journey has been slow, yet steady amidst various challenges. Not receiving any kind of financial resources from anyone, we had to solely trust on our human resources and their efforts for Asian Press Institute to keep moving forward.

Indicator 5b of Target 5 of the Sustainable Development Goal 5 is ‘using ICT for women leadership’. Today we take pride in saying that during these 5 years, the Asian Press Institute used ICT to support and develop the leadership of women from different spheres reaching towards the above Indicator of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Every one of us has a right to express freely, right to information, and right to participate in decisions that affect our lives, which are relevant to all of us. And at this juncture, we at the Asian Press Institute gather together our source of energy – ‘women and girls, and accountable men’, to continue to keep our hopes and work towards a better world.

Thank you API Team!

Best wishes on the International Human Rights Day to all around the globe!!!

E. Ariyaratnam | Founding President – Asian Press Institute