On December 10, 1948, the United Nations formally adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And on every anniversary since then, the world has marked Human Rights Day.
This Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that everyone, regardless of “race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,” is inherently entitled to certain inalienable rights. One of these rights, as guaranteed in Article 7 of the Declaration, says that “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.” This is one of the guiding principles of our work at the Legal Network.
It’s not surprising to anyone that although the world has now lived with this document for seventy years, the legal and human rights of many people continue to be disrespected. People continue to be persecuted and imprisoned precisely because of the very differences that are protected by Article 7. At the Legal Network, we work to ensure that the human rights of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS are respected, protected and fulfilled. We advocate for those who have been charged under discriminatory laws, for those whose right to health has been ignored, and for those who live each day with the fear of being treated differently than their peers in the justice system. Our work happens in many different parts of the world, from Canada to the Caribbean and the Russian Federation, but it is always guided by the belief that people deserve equality and fairness in all aspects of law and of life — principles underlying the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Today, for Human Rights Day and on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we recommit to this work. We will continue to advocate, to litigate and to educate in the hope and belief that someday the world will become a fairer, more equitable place for all.