The International Human Rights Day takes place in a context of struggles for fundamental rights, in particular for gender equality. Battles against dictatorial and fundamentalist regimes are waged in the name of the universality of human rights, as proclaimed by the Universal Declaration, whose adoption we celebrate on this 10 December.
Human rights, a universal aspiration
In Iran, women are rising up against the Islamic regime, which is based on gender inequality. Joined by men, they are fighting for full recognition of equality and their rights, which requires the separation of religion and state. The first revolution centred on women’s rights is being met with murderous repression.
“Women, life, freedom” – the slogan of the Iranian revolutionaries comes from the Kurdish movement, in which feminism has a central place. The democratic and emancipatory experience of Rojava is still fragile and under threat.
In Afghanistan, women are standing up to the obscurantist and brutal Taliban regime, which denies them the most basic rights, even the right to education.
In Ukraine, the right to existence of an entire people is threatened by the Russian regime, in the name of an imperial ideology supported by the Orthodox Church. Russia’s criminal war against Ukraine is part of a cultural war against democracy, human rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights. In Ukraine, too, women are engaged in a multi-faceted resistance against the aggression.
In Poland and Hungary, as in the United States, fundamentalist movements are attacking fundamental rights, especially – again – of women and LGBT+ people. Attacks on the right to abortion are the result of this assault on fundamental rights, provoking large-scale citizen mobilisations.
Secularism, guarantor of human rights
The European Secularist Network recalls its commitment to the principles, rights and freedoms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It is a “common standard of achievement for all peoples”. It is not only addressed to States, but calls upon all strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.
Secularism ensures that everyone can exercise their rights and freedoms regardless of their origin, convictions, beliefs or any other distinction. Secularism, a founding principle of democracy and guarantor of freedoms, has a universal scope.