March 24th: International Day for Truth and Dignity
Human rights are the fundamental rights and freedoms that every person is entitled to by virtue of being human. These rights include the right to life, liberty, and security of person; the right to education, work, the right to a fair trial and health; the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and expression; and the right to participate in government and in free and fair elections.
Standing for human rights means advocating for the protection and promotion of these rights for all people, regardless of their background or circumstances.
The International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims is observed on March 24th to honour the victims of gross human rights violations and to promote the right to truth, justice, and reparations for those who have suffered.
The origins of gross human rights violations can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where certain groups were systematically oppressed and denied basic rights and freedoms. However, the modern concept of human rights as we know it today began to take shape during the 18th and 19th centuries, with the emergence of the abolitionist movement and the fight against slavery.
Estimations of people shipped away during the transatlantic slave trade vary, but it is believed that between 10 and 12 million people were forcibly taken from Africa and transported to the Americas and the Caribbean between the 16th and 19th centuries. It is also estimated that around 1.5 million people died during the journey.
Slavery was abolished in most countries in the 19th century, but the process varied by country. In the United States, slavery was abolished with the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, following the Civil War, but it continued to be practised in other parts of the world for many years afterwards.
In the British Empire, slavery was abolished in 1833 with the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act. Other countries, such as Spain, France, and Portugal, also abolished slavery in the 19th century, but it persisted in some parts of the world until the 20th century.
The abolition of slavery was the result of a long and difficult struggle by abolitionists, enslaved people, and other activists, who worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the horrors of slavery and to bring about change.