Today, 10 December 2008, marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly. The UDHR is a major achievement of the United Nations, setting a common human rights standard for all nations and peoples. Its legally binding International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and their Optional Protocols, as well as the many conventions and treaties to promote and protect human rights for all, form a remarkable body of international human rights law.
In this 60th anniversary year, the United Nations has undertaken an intensive programme of activities leading up to today’s commemoration, under the slogan “dignity and justice for all of us”. It culminates in sixteen days of action against gender based violence.
The implementation of accepted human rights norms remains a significant challenge. Although the international human rights standards and their oversight have been strengthened over the years, forces and trends (by States and private companies) continue to threaten and undermine their application. Too often under the false pretext of protecting women, women are denied the right to education, mobility, the right to their own body and the free choice to plan their own future. All over the world, women have to struggle for basic human rights in many aspects of their lives.
Since its inception in 1915, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) has worked for all human rights to be respected. We have equally worked for the prevention of war and the eradication of militarism, believing that these conditions negate human rights. We are convinced that human rights cannot exist without peace and freedom.
Exercising the right to have an equal voice in international policy-making and the questions of war and peace, The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom calls for:
* the right of peoples to exercise political and economic sovereignty over their land and its resources;
* the right of peoples to live in peace and freedom without fear of violence, occupation or military rule;
* the right of peoples to determine their own systems of economic and social development and relations in harmony with the planet;
* the right of women to receive equal pay for equal work;
* the right of all people to be free from sexual slavery, other forms of bonded labour and exploitation;
* the right of all peoples to participate fully in the social, economic and political life in their country.
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is the oldest women’s peace organization in the world, established in 1915 to oppose the war raging in Europe. It has been working ever since to study, make known, and abolish the causes of war, and to support human rights and general and complete disarmament.