The Samburu Women Trust (SWT) joins the global community in celebrating Human Rights Day on December 10, the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly declared December 10 as International Day of Peace. It stated unequivocally that human rights are universal and not optional.
Human rights are inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to due to their humanity. The theme for this year is “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All.”
The UN’s Charter and Declarations apply to every member of the organization. However, each member is free to choose how to contribute to the Charter and Declarations’ objectives.
The occasion this year comes at a time when human rights around the world are facing enormous difficulties. The most fundamental human rights are being denied to far too many individuals.
Unfortunately, far too many nations are not upholding their obligations.
Protecting the rights of marginalised communities
It is important for all maginalised communities to unite in the struggle for freedom, dignity and justice.
Through the implementation of international charters and declarations, such as the UNDHR and ICCPR, unquestionably considerable progress has been achieved throughout the years in achieving these principles.
But marginalized groups, such as indigenous people, continue to experience a disproportionate number of problems, such as economic inequality, racism, political exclusion, discrimination, police violence, and other types of injustice.
Nevertheless, these communities continue to defend their rights by opposing the structures of authority in an effort to restore their dignity and press for justice. These communities are fighting to construct a more just and equitable society for all through their advocacy, organization, and coalition-building.
The Indigenous Women Council, which we will now examine, is one of these marginalized societies where this is clearly visible.
SWT is working to uphold the human rights of indigenous people in Africa. Our women-led/focused members in Africa including the Indigenous Women Council have been doing some incredible work improving the visibility of marginalised women in countries, where they often face hostility and violence.
This includes community outreach initiatives, social justice advocacy, and the provision of safe spaces and legal support.
Nevertheless, ensuring that these voices are platformed in influential spaces continues to be challenging. This is why IWC members work together to ensure we actively participate in public and political life and remove barriers to help them integrate into spaces where previously excluded.
Working in solidarity has enabled us to use our collective voice to provide that visibility and occupy previously challenging spaces.
We must do more to support marginalised communities and ensure that they feel included in society. We must work to break down the barriers that prevent them from living full and dignified lives.
We must also stand up against the discrimination and violence that they often face. This requires both bottom up, and top-down approaches to ensure that they have the means and the access to live a life with dignity, freedom and justice.