Human rights are not something that humankind has always enjoyed. It is a comparatively modern achievement and a gift from those who were fighting and died for us to have a privilege of human rights. For example, this is a privilege of mine to be able to write these words and your privilege to be able to read them. It seems so obvious today that governments provide various types of protection from injustice or education for the citizens. But was it so obvious even one century ago?
When I read about the world history, each time it reminds me of the legacy which laid foundation to human rights as we know them today, and how tough it was to fight for each right and apply them to everyone. It reminds me of how many women I owe for what I am today, for having a profession I like, for enjoying the right to move without anyone’s consent, to speak in a public, to be treated equally with others without discrimination based on my nationality, religious and political beliefs, gender, gender identity or sexuality.
But I also keep in mind that nothing in the world is non-reversible and these achievements need to be preserved and further developed. I do not want these brilliant concepts of dignity, equality and non-discrimination to weaken and be undermined. I know what human rights mean for millions of people who are different in various ways from the ‘common’ society. I know how difficult it is to speak up against the ‘majority’.
Each person has different characteristics. There are people who build, who defend, and there are those, who break. I see myself as someone who preserves and defends. As a lawyer, I do not know a more valuable thing that I can dedicate my life to than to stand by human rights values and defend the rights of those who need it. I see continuing the fight for preserving, expanding and strengthening human rights as my obligation and a tribute to everyone who has fought for human rights and a better future for us.
Edited by Mariann Rikka