Celebrate Public Participation on Human Rights Day
by Gavin Baker, 12/10/2012
Today is Human Rights Day. This year's theme, "inclusion and the right to participate in public life," is close to our hearts here at OMB Watch.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights," and goes on to define a life of dignity as one in which freedom of opinion and expression, the right to health, and the right to participate in government are guaranteed. All governments are obliged to respect and promote these rights, and national and international mechanisms exist to enforce them.
At OMB Watch, we express these ideas through our vision of "a just and democratic society in which every individual can thrive." The right to public participation and the importance of inclusive civic engagement have been a theme of our work for nearly 30 years. We believe that access to information empowers people to participate in decision making and to safeguard their families from harm. We've sought to ensure that information is not only available, but equitably accessible to all Americans.
In fact, participation and inclusion are central to all our work at OMB Watch. In order to achieve a fair budget that invests in America and secure sensible safeguards that keep our children's food and toys safe, we need citizens to raise their voices – and we need a political system that listens and responds.
As Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, commented, "We all should have a voice that counts in our societies. We should all have free, active and meaningful participation in both economic and political affairs."
Please join us in celebrating Human Rights Day as we continue working toward greater inclusion and participation. Know your rights and exercise them.
photo: Eleanor Roosevelt with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights