“Oh you who Believe! Be steadfast in righteousness and just in giving witnesses for the sake of Allah. And let not the hatred of others make you unjust. Be Just, that is nearer to piety..”
The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950 to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. The theme for 2015 is ‘Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.” It focuses around the theme of rights and freedoms — freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
Promoting human rights is one of the core purposes of the United Nations, and the Organization has pursued this mission since its founding. Then, as now, the key to success is the political will of Member States. It is States, in the first instance, that are obliged to protect human rights and prevent violations at a national level, and to stand up when other States fail to live up to their commitments. This is not always easy, and over the past 20 years we have seen genocide and many other appalling and large-scale violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
In today’s turbulent world, the promotion and safeguarding of human rights has never been more important. When we see millions of people being displaced in Syria and countless numbers being persecuted for their beliefs in Burma we must ensure that there is a collective effort to alleviate these issues and ensure that all people are able to live with freedoms that we take for granted.
If we look back in history, the basic human rights were being implemented by the Prophet of Islam -Muhammad (Pbuh). He established the very first Islamic society which eliminated the spiritual and social problems rampant in the Arabian Peninsula, freedom of religion was instituted in Medina, women were honoured and respected as equals, racial discrimination was practically eliminated and tribal warfare was replaced with united ties of brotherhood.
Modern Day Muslim leadership should continue to work hard in their efforts to emulate the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in working for justice for all people regardless of race, religion and creed. It should be Muslims that are at the forefront of dialogue condemning human rights abuses and ensure they are active in advocating justice and equality.