Human rights, democracy, and rule of law are interrelated. When human rights are violated, democracy and rule of law are impacted. When democracy is violated, human rights and rule of law suffer. Where there is no rule of law, democracy and human rights are lost.
President U Win Myint made these observations in his message at the 70th Anniversary celebrations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The President also said, “Human rights, which are the most fundamental rights of humankind, need to be enjoyed without discrimination with respect to race, color of skin, gender, language, religion, or political belief, by all, equally.”
On the same day, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission also pledged to promote and protect the human rights of the citizens in accordance with the provisions of the Commission Law. The Commission has visited Buthidaung and Maungtaw townships in Northern Rakhine State to look into the human rights situation there. It has also visited IDP camps in Putao, Myitkyina, Mohnyin, and Mogaung townships in Kachin State.
Exactly 70 years ago, 48 members of the U.N. General Assembly voted in favor of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Support was not unanimous. Drafting was not without controversy or disagreement. But the result was a major victory for humanity.
Human rights are not a Western invention. They are the basis of most cultural and religious teachings and beliefs around the world. Christianity says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and Buddhism says, “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful”. These “Golden Rules” can also be found in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration, which states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
Democracy and human rights are inseparable because a democratic system respects the dignity and human rights of the people. That is why we are building a democratic system.
We cannot call ourselves a democracy if we do not respect human integrity.
In order to promote the dignity and human rights of the Union and the quality of each citizen’s life, we need to face the challenges in our country in the right way with full confidence.
It is incumbent on us to continue the task of building a nation founded on laws and institutions that will guarantee each and everyone in our land justice, freedom, and human rights.