2022-12-10 GENERAL HOUSE

December 10: Human Rights Day

On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This day is commemorated every year on December 10 with high-level conferences, cultural events and exhibitions organized across the world to raise human rights awareness. Even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not make any reference to the spiritual nature of the human person as the basis of human dignity, it nevertheless, maintains that all persons are born with equal and inherent dignity regardless of their ethnicity, religion, gender, language, political opinion and national or social origin. While maintaining that the image of God is the basis for human dignity, the Catholic Church, however, recognizes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a true milestone on the path of humanity’s moral progress and calls on all governments to ratify it and consider their promotion as a Christian vocation.

Conflicts and wars continue to force people to leave their homelands and seek refuge in other places where they often become targets of traffickers. It is unbelievable indeed that these atrocities continue to happen seventy-four years after the UN declaration of human rights. It is equally surprising that human rights are not respected today when almost everybody agrees that humans have equal and inherent dignity. Believing that things can change, Pope Francis, in his encyclical, ‘Laudato Si’, calls for a renewed emphasis on the dignity of the human person by intensifying our stewardship of creation. Similarly, convinced that human condition changes, and that international solidarity is indispensable for peace and harmony in the world, Human Rights experts also continue to call for a spirit of unity among individuals, nations, and civil rights organizations to create an enabling environment for fundamental freedoms. They believe that no sustainable development can be achieved unless countries end inequalities, improve governance, embrace the voices of civil society, care for the environment and respect civil liberties.

As Marists of Champagnat, our involvement in human rights advocacy and activities are in line with the call of our XXII General Chapter to be bridge-builders. This call invites us to be a prophetic reminder of the common dignity and fundamental equality of the entire People of God as well as agents of change and messengers of peace transforming the lives of young people through an integral education. In this way, our commitment to human rights is an integral part of the demands of the Gospel.

Affirming that a human being is created in God’s image, the Catholic Church highlights his centrality as a “person” to be treated as the protagonist of all economic, social, cultural and political life. Thus, the fight against unjust societal structures is at the heart of the Church’s pastoral action. From this perspective, the Church exhorts governments to defend and promote human rights by creating a social environment that offers citizens the possibility of truly exercising their human rights and fulfilling their corresponding duties.


Brother Francis Lukong – Secretariat of Solidarity

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