STRONGER TOGETHER: Speaking up for human rights

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Last updated: 05/12/2022

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses speaking up about human rights.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Have you ever truly thought about what human rights really means and how it applies to you? 

Today marks the start of Human Rights Week, which runs until 10 December. When we think of human rights, we often think on a global scale. For many of us, issues like war, famine and oppression come to mind, but It's important that we scale our view down and look at human rights through a community lens, too. 

This year's Human Rights Week theme is Close to Home, so it's the perfect time to examine how human rights plays out in our local region. 

At its core, human rights is about people. It's about protecting your right to the things we take for granted every day – drinking clean water, eating food, being able to see a doctor when we need to, going to school, being able to say or write what we truly think or practicing a religion if we so choose. 

In Queensland, our human rights are protected through the Human Rights Act 2019. It's a document that we should all be familiar with; building a culture of human rights starts with community, and we are all responsible for ensuring everyone has equal access to their basic human rights. 

Despite this, not everyone in our community is always afforded the same rights. Even in our own communities, sometimes people are denied their basic rights because of some aspect of who they are – the colour of their skin, their sexuality, their gender, religion or perhaps because they have a disability. 

It is up to us to speak up when we see someone’s human rights being denied. Turning a blind eye makes you part of the problem, so if you see someone being excluded, bullied, harassed or denied their basic needs it’s important to stand up and speak up. Standing up for human rights is something that we can all participate in.

People with disabilities are one group often denied access to their basic human rights. Tomorrow is also the International Day for People with Disability, which aims to create a more inclusive, equitable and accessible society.

This year's theme is Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world. It's so important that we continue to strive towards making our community inclusive for people living with a disability and for everyone, and to continue ensuring that every single person's basic human rights are met. 

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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