A call to action to turn the tide of human rights around the world.
Tirana Hassan, Executive Director at Human Rights Watch in a keynote address on the state of human rights.
We only have to look at the human rights challenges of 2023 to tell us what we need to do differently in 2024. It was a formidable year not only for human rights suppression and wartime atrocities but also for selective government outrage and transactional diplomacy that carried profound costs for the rights of those not in on the deal. Yet amid the gloom, we saw signs of hope showing the possibility of a different path.
Renewed hostilities between Israel and Hamas and in Sudan caused tremendous suffering, as did ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Myanmar, Ethiopia, and the Sahel. Governments struggled to deal with the hottest year on record and the onslaught of wildfires, drought, and storms that wreaked havoc on millions of people in Bangladesh, Libya, and Canada. Economic inequality rose around the world, as did anger about the policy decisions that have left many people struggling to survive. The rights of women and girls and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people faced harsh backlashes in many places, exemplified by the Taliban’s gender persecution in Afghanistan.
The drivers of these human rights crises and their consequences often transcend borders and cannot be solved by governments acting alone. Understanding and responding to these threats needs to be rooted in universal principles of international human rights and the rule of law. These ideas built on shared human histories agreed upon by nations across all regions 75 years ago in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the basis for all contemporary human rights conventions and treaties.
This foundation is needed now more than ever. But this very system we rely on to protect the human rights of people everywhere is under threat. Every time a government overlooks or rejects these universal and globally accepted principles, someone pays a price – in freedoms and liberties, in their health or livelihood, and at times their lives.
The complete human rights watch world report 2024 can be found HERE.