The World Region
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.
One of democracy’s basic principles is to hold regular, free and fair elections. Elections ensure that the governing remains accountable to the governed. The right to vote is another defining characteristic of democracy. The hard-fought expansion of suffrage in established democracies in the 20th century led to the steady decline of the voting age, thus extending the right to vote to the world’s youth.
When you are young and still in school, it’s hard to think of ways you can change people’s thinking at the global level. But sometimes, all you need is a video camera and Internet access.
Today, the winners of the European Development Days video contest “Young voices against poverty,” are being recognized for their contributions to the dialogue on global poverty.
Even though it was windy and dark outside, Vivien Suerte-Cortez was smiling and full of energy on the stage. Suerte-Cortez is an accountability and transparency expert from the Philippines. Dressed in her gray jacket, she started to talk about Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA), a project in the Philippines that encourages citizens to participate in the audit process for government projects and explores how to ensure efficient use of public resources by the government.
Just before noon yesterday, a young African woman asked panelists about what can be done to ensure students in Africa have more access to electricity so they can work on their homework at night.
In 1935, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, a 26-year-old Indian physicist, challenged conventional wisdom by proposing a radical theory that would prove the existence of black holes. He presented his idea to the Royal Astronomical Society in the United Kingdom, whose members had a hard time believing his evidence.
A year and two days ago today, a teenage girl was riding the school bus in northern Pakistan. Suddenly, a Taliban gunman got on the bus. He shot her. She almost died.
As a young migrant living in the African diaspora, I am often quizzed by people regarding my plans to return and contribute to the development process of Ghana – my country of origin. Such questions remind you of your origin country and the fact that it needs you more than you can imagine.