Celebrating human rights day — a call for civic engagement

08-12-2022 10:09 AM
By Natheer Al Awamleh and Dominik Bartsch

December 10 marks Human Rights Day, commemorating the 74th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights (UDHR). Back in 1948,following the devastation of the World War II, the world took an enormous step forward with the creation of the UDHR, which enshrines the rights of all human beings. To this day, it remains a powerful manifest to secure and advance the human rights for everyone, everywhere.

After more than seven decades since its adoption and despite the enormous challenges we are facing, the UDHR continues to inspire positive change towards a more equal and inclusive world for the benefit of us all.

In its 2022 Voluntary National Review reporting on the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Government of Jordan confirmed that greatest progress wasmade in ensuring the rights to food, water and sanitation, quality education, and regarding infrastructure, industry, innovation and responsible production and consumption. The assessment also suggested that more efforts be directed at reaching gender equality,reducing poverty and inequalities andachieving decent work and economic growth.

The adoption in 2022 of the Food Security Strategyand the National Nutrition Strategy attest to this progress but in a global context of growing food insecurity their implementation will be vital. The adoption of the Child Rights Lawhas been another important milestone and will provide a basis for further refinement. The Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities who visited Jordan in September 2022 welcomed Jordan’s commitment and political will to include people with disabilities in all aspects of society including through a sophisticated body of law. Among the difficulties that persons with physical disabilities and older persons continue to face are the lack of accessible and affordable transport to allow for access to schools, healthcare and employment.

To create the enabling environment for the political, administrative and economic modernization processes in Jordan and realize the 2030 Agenda to ensure “Dignity, Freedom and Justice for All”, we need to ensure that all segments of society, citizens and non-Jordanians, women, youth and persons with disabilities, are able to contribute to, and benefit from sustainable development.

As the Royal Committee in its final report on the Political Modernisation proposal noted “Laws, policies and action plans need to allow for the creation of a pluralistic public sphere that enables individuals, groups, political parties, and civil society organisations to have freedom of movement, expression, and participation within the law.”

Going into 2023, the United Nations will launch a year-long global campaignculminating in the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR 75) on 10 December 2023.

The year 2023 will present many opportunities for Jordan to assess its achievements and continue to pursue the implementation of human rights.

And 2023 should be a yearto “Stand Up for Human Rights”,for other stakeholders to engage and share their perspectives.

During the last Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2018, over 30 reports were submitted from different non-governmental organisations across Jordan including from young people. Many more actors are key to engagein the upcoming UPR 2024 such as civil society organisations who support the realisation of the 2030 Agenda around the right to food, the right to water and sanitation, the right to decent work or the right to education.

The government of Jordan and the United Nations family join hands in supporting increased civic engagement, and to further build on the achievements in securing human rights for all.

Dominik Bartsch is United Nations resident coordinator a.i., and Natheer Al Awamleh is government coordinator for Human Rights at the Prime Ministry

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