Zonta International statement on Human Rights Day 2021

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December, the day the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

A milestone document, the UDHR proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being—regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

The United Nations' theme of Human Rights Day this year is "EQUALITY - Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights"—which relates to Article 1 of the UDHR: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."

"Our objective at Zonta International has always been for women to be treated equally," said Zonta International President Sharon Langenbeck. "As long as inequality exists, human rights will be abused."

One of the most widespread abuses of human rights and biggest barriers to achieving equality is violence against women and girls. That's why Jackson Katz, Ph.D., has made it his life's work to promote gender equality and prevent gender-based violence.

"Gender-based violence is the biggest threat to gender equality," Katz said during the first session of our Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women Online Summit on 30 November.

For the last 16 days, Zonta members around the world have been advocating to end gender-based violence through the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign. Zontians in nearly 20 countries lit up monuments in orange, created public displays to build awareness, held webinars and workshops to educate their communities, and so much more. Read about these actions at zontasaysno.com/zontiansinaction.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence may be over, but Zonta International and its members will continue to fight for women's rights and human rights. We invite you to sign our pledge and join us in our commitment to achieve gender equality and end violence against women and girls. Additionally, if your club took action as part of the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign, please let us know at www.zonta.org/shareyourstory.

10 DECEMBER 2021