Today is Human Rights Day.
It is not normally a day that I spend much time thinking about. Living in the UK, I’ve often taken for granted my basic human rights. When I lay on my sofa, sipping tea and watching Netflix, I forget that some people have to fight for the right to rest and leisure. When I get upset because someone tells me to stop talking during the good part of a movie, I forget that some people die for their freedom of speech.
With this in mind, working at Christian Aid (CA) has been nothing short of eye-opening. Spending every working day reading through the stories of our partners and beneficiaries, I have started to truly appreciate the extent to which human rights shape lives.
But I still don’t know everything.
That is why I have decided to write this blog. To delve even deeper into how Christian Aid protects human rights.
So, hold your breath, put some goggles on, and join me in diving headfirst into the facts.
Before we jump into the deep end, let’s start off with the basics. What exactly are human rights?
According to the UN, “human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status.”
Some of the most basic human rights include:
Throughout its 70-year history, Christian Aid has worked tirelessly to protect these human rights. Post-World War II it protected the right of starving refugees to life and liberty. In the 1960s it protected the right for freedom of opinion and expression when it set up the World Development Movement (to encourage political campaigning). In the 1980s CA protected the right for freedom from discrimination, through creating the South African Coalition to demand an end to apartheid.
And this good work has still not ended.
If you look at the Christian Aid website today, you will see that CA stands for dignity, equality, and justice. As such, it believes that everyone has basic human rights.
This is a belief demonstrated not simply through words, but through action.
For example, this December we are launching the Christmas Aid Appeal to help bring peace to people affected by conflict worldwide. This appeal focuses on the great work done by our partners in specifically Columbia, South Sudan, and the Gaza Strip – all of which fight for the human right to life and liberty in conflict zones.
Moreover, for Christian Aid Week 2019 we will fight for the right of people in Sierra Leone to have an adequate standard of living (specifically around the areas of health and well-being). Focusing on maternal health, the appeal will provide the local community with education and medical assistance.
Finally, since I have started working at CA we have responded to a number of natural disasters (including the Indonesia Tsunami and Philippines Typhoon Mangkhut). These responses have protected the right to adequate living standards by providing those affected with essentials such as food, water, and shelter.
So what is the takeaway from this blog? Firstly, it must be noted that this short analysis doesn’t do Christian Aid justice at all. The work done at CA touches pretty much every aspect of human rights and helps to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide. 600 words couldn’t possibly capture all of that. With that in mind, I leave you with this simple idea: every day is Human Rights Day at Christian Aid.
Words by Luke Evason-Browning, Youth Project Support Officer and Charityworks trainee at Chrisitan Aid.