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Standing Up for Human Rights in Myanmar

By Mizzima 11 December 2018

An outstanding performance by the United ACT Child Theatre Group at the Stand Up 4 Human Rights Yangon event. Photo: European Union in Myanmar

Myanmar civil society organisations and human rights activists together with the United Nations and the European Union in Myanmar celebrates Human Rights Day and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Human Rights Day and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the “Stand Up 4 Human Rights Yangon!” event was held at the Goethe Villa on 9 December.

Observed across the world every year on December 10th, Human Rights Day marks the day in 1948 when the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The milestone document drawn up and signed by representatives from the then 50 member states of the UN proclaims 30 rights and freedoms that every person is entitled to as a human being. The Universal Declaration – the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages – is as relevant today as it was on the day that it was proclaimed.

“The 70th Anniversary of the proclamation of UDHR is a milestone document which rose out of the ashes of the Second World War and will have an everlasting impact on mankind,” said U Win Mra, Chairperson of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC).

“Stand Up 4 Human Rights” is a global campaign launched by UN Human Rights to highlight what the Universal Declaration means for people in their everyday lives whilst reaffirming the importance of its enduring human rights principles and standards worldwide. The Yangon event is organised by Myanmar civil society organisations and human rights defenders, together with the UN and its agencies in Myanmar, and the European Union in Myanmar.

MNHRC Chairperson Win Mra, UN Resident Coordinator Mr Knut Ostby, EU Ambassador H.E. Kristian Schmidt, and Triangle Women’s Support Group Director Ma Khin Lay lead the line-up of speakers that will share perspectives on what standing up for human rights means in Myanmar, in light of current domestic and international affairs.

EU Ambassador  Kristian Schmidt remarked, “We see human rights coming under pressure all around the world, reminding us that we can never take them for granted. We indeed need to redouble our efforts and “Stand up for Human Rights” every single day – in Myanmar, in Europe and everywhere else in this world.”

Speaking on behalf of the United Nations Human Rights, UN Resident Representative Mr Knut Ostby said, “The Universal Declaration on Human Rights proclaimed, ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ It stated that human rights apply to everyone, everywhere. As the UN Secretary-General said, it brought hope to dark places. But, we can’t take human rights for granted. People are being denied rights in different parts of the world. We are therefore standing up today for human rights for everyone in the world and for everyone in Myanmar.”

Ma Khin Lay, Director of the Triangle Women’s Support Group, meanwhile said: “The celebration of the 70th anniversary of the UDHR provides everyone with the perfect opportunity to reflect on how far Myanmar has gone in making true of the provisions contained in the Declaration and to decide how we want to bring the human rights discourse forward in promoting and protecting human right for all in the country.”

Stand Up 4 Human Rights Yangon feature interactive information booths offering games, quizzes & prizes, virtual reality films, a literature corner for kids, and live art performances to discover the rights and principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration; human rights talks where human rights defenders from across Myanmar tell their stories; children’s theatre, and live musical acts including performances by Myanmar rock bands Side Effect and The Reasonabilists. The event is open to the public, free-of-charge.

From: MIZZIMA MYANMAR  (Myanmar) Tuesday December 11, 2018

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