Every year, Human Rights Day, on 10 December, is an opportunity to raise global awareness of human rights issues.
This year, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will focus on inclusion and the right to participate in public life.
Fulfillment of the right to participate is fundamental to the functioning of a democracy and an effective human rights protection system.?Inclusion of all those who have been traditionally locked out of the process is an essential precondition to the achievement of both.
The theme draws directly from Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which speak of the right to freedom of expression and opinion, the right to freedom of assembly and association and the right to take part in government, either directly or through freely chosen representatives.
This Human Rights Day, OHCHR aims to highlight that 'participation in public life' can only achieve its full meaning and real significance when everybody is included in decision-making processes.
The theme is in accordance with the theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2012 which is "Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all." Let's hope the two events address the urgent issue of accessibility in depth.