From 1948 to 2020: What do we need to know about the International Human Rights Day

As Ukraine belongs to the international community, it celebrates Human Rights Day annually on 10 December. This is the day when the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a general standard goal for all nations and countries in 1948.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights defines a wide range of general rights and freedoms, which every person had right to get. It guarantees every person’s rights despite national diversity, location, gender, national or ethnic origin, language, or any other characteristics.

Although the Declaration is not a must, it inspired more than 60 documents about human rights, which together set the international standard of human rights. Today the Declaration is strengthened by the general agreement of all the UN countries-participants, including Ukraine, and this underlines the importance of human rights in everyday life.

The UN constantly monitors the observance and protection of human rights in the participating countries. In particular, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in its latest report on Ukraine of 6 March 2020, stated its concerns that women in Ukraine were in fact disadvantaged, despite legislation and a national program to ensure equal rights regarding the economic, social and cultural rights.

The Committee pointed out the stereotypes about women and men roles, which consolidate gender inequality in Ukraine. As a result, women, especially vulnerable ones like internally displaced or Roma women, keep doing the unpaid house and care work, and that keeps them out of full participation in social life and the labor market.

The Committee is concerned about the fact that women are not enough represented in government service and the private labor market. It is also concerned about horizontal and vertical segregation based on sex and a significant gender gap in fees, which reaches up to 21,2%.

Our state as the UN participant country got the following recommendations:

  • to ensure the effective implementation of the State social program for ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women and men until 2021, including collecting statistics by gender, in particular, to study the impact of poverty on groups of women in different situations;
  • implement a gender-oriented approach in the budget process;
  • overcome gender stereotypes in family and society, especially through awareness-raising campaigns aimed at promoting equal distribution of family responsibilities, in order to promote equal participation of women in the labor market and in other areas of social and cultural life;
  • keep paying efforts aimed to widen women’s participation in labor activity in state and private sectors;
  • encourage women’s full participation in the labor market especially in the way of creating relevant and accessible offers of daycare for children and encouraging men to use their right for a paid father’s parental leave.

In this context, the special importance is gained by the Resolution of the 4th Ukrainian Women’s Congress which took place in Kyiv, Lviv and Mariupol for 2 days in a row and united 55 speakers in creating the new agenda for gender policy in Ukraine in the times of the pandemic and lockdown challenges.

In the Recommendations by the Resolution of the 4th Ukrainian Women’s Congress there are the following:

  • to develop and adopt a new Labor Code taking into account the gender approach and gender-sensitive practices, including those that provide remote work, support for workers who care for family, social support for families with children and others;
  • to ensure transparent principles in the field of remuneration that minimize gender pay gaps at the regulatory level;
  • to implement programs to support women’s entrepreneurship and create conditions for the provision of soft bank loans for the development of women’s entrepreneurship;
  • create conditions for an impartial process of selecting and employing staff, as well as equal pay for employees of both sexes who perform work of equal value;
  • to adopt an Action plan on the implementation of a National strategy for human rights by 2023.

Worth to mention that 10 December is one of the days of the Global 16 days campaign against violence. It was at first initiated in 1991 by the First Global Women Leadership Institute and is held annually from 25 November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – till 10 November – International Human Rights Day. It is the way to recognize the bond between violence against women and human rights.


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