December 10th, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Pause today and think about people around the globe, and in our own local communities, who face marginalization, bullying, discrimination, and violence. Today, reflect on our own empowerment to make a difference for others around us and make the world a better place, one kindness at a time. Take time to learn about the experiences of marginalized individuals around the world – and around us in our own spheres of influence, and pledge to help make the space around us more welcoming and respectful for all. Defend human rights where you can, and pledge to focus on uplifting others. How can you make a difference for someone today?
If a country doesn’t recognize minority rights and human rights, including women’s rights, you will not have the kind of stability and prosperity that is possible. –Hillary Clinton
From the Council on Human Rights 2014 report to the United Nations General Assembly:
Section 9: Victims of violence come from all religious or belief backgrounds. They comprise adherents to large “traditional” communities and followers of small or new religious movements, which are often stigmatized as “sects”. Furthermore, atheists and agnostics suffer in many countries from a climate of intimidation, repression or violence. Another frequently neglected group of people are the adherents to different indigenous beliefs, who are also targets of violence carried out by State agencies and/or non-State actors.
Section 10: Countless examples demonstrate that violence in the name of religion usually displays a pronounced gender dimension. Many women and girls are victims of “honour” killings, acid attacks, amputations or floggings, sometimes pursuant to penal codes that are based on religious laws. Women and girls also disproportionately suffer from sexual violence, such as rape, abduction, sexual enslavement, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, often in conjunction with forced conversion, or other cruelties.
Section 11: Furthermore, homophobic and transphobic violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons may also be perpetrated in the name of religion. Those perceived as LGBT may be targets of organized abuse, including by religious extremists. Violence against LGBT persons includes brutal gang rapes, so-called “curative” rapes and family violence owing to their sexual orientation and gender identity. There is a strong connection between discrimination in law and practice, and incitement to violence in the name of religion and violence itself. Violence against women and against LGBT persons is often justified and given legitimacy by discriminatory laws based on religious laws or supported by religious authorities, such as laws criminalizing adultery, homosexuality or cross-dressing. The Human Rights Committee has noted with concern hate speech and manifestations of intolerance and prejudice by religious leaders against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, in a broader context of acts of violence, including killings of LGBT persons. There have also been reports of direct violence exercised by religious authorities against LGBT persons, although many of them are religiously interested in practising.