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Happy Human Rights Day

A different blog today as we mark International Human Rights Day and look ahead to the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a years time.

The UDHR is the document that provides Amnesty International with its guiding principles and weve much planned for the coming year to remind people just how important the UDHR and human rights - are to all of us. Everywhere.

Do we need any reminding here in the UK? On the one hand, we shouldnt when our media has been full of stories of human rights abuses recently the protests in Burma, the controversial visit to this country of the King of Saudia Arabia and the state of emergency in Pakistan to name but three. And amid acres of coverage of a controversy about a teddy bear in Sudan, some gave space to the fact that hundreds of thousands of people in that country are currently suffering grave human rights abuses.

This weekend another African nation, Zimbabwe, was back in the news with President Mugabes attendance at the EU summit in Portugal. The Archbishop of York cut up his dog collar live on BBC TV yesterday in protest at his regime.

The weekend also saw good news from Guantánamo Bay, with the expected return to the UK of three UK residents. We welcomed the news but restated our view that   Guantánamo is a travesty of justice and that all 300-plus detainees should either be given proper trials or released to safe countries.

However, I fear that despite this deluge of stories, and many more besides, we still do not value human rights nearly enough.

In a speech she has just given in Cape Town to mark Human Rights Day, Amnesty Internationals Secretary General Irene Khan says: Every human has rights. That is the essence of our humanity. It places on each of us the duty to stand up, not just for our own rights but also for those of others. That is the spirit of international solidarity. That is the true meaning of universal, indivisible human rights.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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