“Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” -Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted December 10, 1948
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes the right to a standard of living for health and well-being — including food, clothing, housing and medical care; to education; to take part in government; and to consent to your own marriage. These rights are to be recognised without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. (Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).
The Hunger Project is committed to the sustainable end of world hunger, and chronic hunger is not merely due to lack of food. It occurs when people are denied these basic human rights and the opportunity to earn enough income, be educated and gain skills, meet basic health needs and have a voice in the decisions that affect their community. It occurs when women are subjugated, forced to marry and not protected from violence.
The theme of this year’s Human Rights Day is human rights defenders who act to end discrimination — leaders who speak out against human rights abuses, often at great personal risk to themselves and their families. The Hunger Project is honoured to partner with thousands of volunteer leaders who are courageously doing just that each and every day. Women, who have been victims of acid attacks, yet still speak out against gender-based violence in their community. Men, who confront age-old mindsets, and support the leadership of the women in their families. Community-based organisations and federations who are banding together to hold government to account and demand that their rights are upheld. Here are a few examples:
- Uma Devi ran for election to serve in one of the seats reserved for women on her local village council (panchayat) in Bihar, India in 2006. A man in the village, who wanted to retain his power, offered her money and threatened to kill her family to stop her from contesting the election. When Uma Devi did not back down, three of her children (ages one, four and seven) were brutally murdered. Uma Devi persevered and continued her campaign. She won the elections, and in doing so, courageously stood against violence and corruption in her village. Read more about Uma.
- Tarcila Rivera Zea, president of Chirapaq, The Hunger Project’s partner organisation in Peru, has been awarded the Women’s Order of Merit given by the Ministry of Women and Social Development in Peru. This award is given in recognition of her commitment to assert and defend indigenous peoples and women’s rights. Read more about Tarcila.
- Faiza Jama Mohamed received The Hunger Project’s Africa Prize in 2008 for her 25 years of work fighting for women’s rights throughout the African continent. Faiza has led campaigns for women’s land rights in Uganda; enforcement of the law prohibiting female genital mutilation in Tanzania; enactment of such a law in Mali; ending rape, abduction and forced marriage in Ethiopia; and ending rape of adolescent girls by teachers in Zambia. Read more about Faiza.
On this Human Rights Day (December 10), we honour our partners, who, in the face of violence, tirelessly stand up for their rights and the rights of others in their families, communities and countries. We encourage you to speak up and take action to end discrimination in all of its forms whenever and wherever it is manifested.
Take action now by investing in the empowerment of such human rights defenders. Give now!