From the 3-year-old who salutes Nelson Mandela in Soweto to the schoolchildren who grip portraits of the icon during a ceremony in India, it is evident that people across the globe feel the loss of Mandela’s passing.
It was in Paris, 65 years ago, on Dec. 10, 1948, that the president of the United Nations General Assembly, Herbert Vere Evatt, called for a vote on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Forty-eight nations voted in favor, eight abstained, but none dissented. Thus was adopted a simple, yet powerful declaration, which set out the basic principle of equality and non-discrimination:
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
— Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Discrimination based on sexual orientation occurs on a regular basis around the world. In its worst form, it includes forms of violent persecution such as killings, rape, and torture. A quick Google search can illustrate how the world stereotypes and discriminates against queer people. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association’s world survey of laws on criminalization, protection, and recognition of same-sex love reports that consensual same-sex relationships remain criminalized in some 78 countries. In at least five, the legally prescribed punishment for homosexual acts is death. Today’s fight for equality is as much about changing these discriminatory laws and practices as it is about reshaping the hearts and minds of people around the world.
Every year, December 1 serves as a reminder that despite the scientific advances made in recent years, AIDS remains pervasive across the world and continues to claim victims. Sustained commitment is critical if we wish to halt the spread of the virus and its devastating impact on poverty reduction efforts.
In a guidance document, the World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of improving access by adolescents (aged 10 to 19) to preventive services, treatment, and care. The establishment of free screening programs would provide this population segment with access to earlier treatment and limit the risk of infection by those unaware of their seropositive status.