Mangaluru: Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day. This year’s Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966.
The two Covenants, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights, setting out the civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings. “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.” aims to promote and raise awareness of the two Covenants on their 50th anniversary. The year-long campaign revolves around the theme of rights and freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear – which underpin the International Bill of Human Rights, are as relevant today as they were when the Covenants were adopted 50 years ago.
Here locally, Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development organized ‘Maanavatha Milan – A Quest for Humanity’, a series of programmes on 8th, 9th and 10th December, concluding with a public function on Thursday, the afternoon of 10th of December 2015. This marked International Human Rights Day declared by the United Nations as December 10th to immortalize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The inaugural session of the workshop was held at Sahodaya, in KACES Campus, Balmatta, Mangaluru, a venue which has been kindly extended for the cause by the Karnataka Christian Educational Society. Today’s programme included special interactive session in the morning with Ram Puniyani – renowned writer and Human Rights Activist, and Dr Sharanappa – IPS, Superintendent of Police, DK District.
In the afternoon session commencing at 3pm, the programme included a Dialogue on Humanism and Constitutional Rights with Lara Matossian-Roberts who is the Founder and CEO of SciFest Dubai; Ram Puniyani, Vaidehi – an eminent Thinker and Litterateur and Vidya Bhushan Rawat. There was also a group discussion as to whether reservation should be continued in India or not, followed by a student interaction debate and a Mock court. There was also a poster exhibit. To add some melody to the session, band “Humanity” rendered some John Lennon and Bob Dylan, along with few Bollywood songs. Carol Pinto compered the programme professionally.
Speaking about SciFest Dubai, Lara Matossian-Roberts said, “You don’t have to be a scientist to love science. Science and Humanism can connect – Science, Humanism, intelligent optimism are the hope for the future. SciFest Dubai is a platform to promote creativity, critical thinking, innovation, and STEAM education. The aim is to promote a love for science and a deeper understanding of scientific methods. Science is more than just a body of knowledge. It’s a way of thinking. Man is unique not because he does science, and he is unique not because he does art; but because science and art equally are expressions of his marvelous plasticity of mind.”
“The Mission of SciFest Dubai is to celebrate science through the arts and popular culture and to promote STEAM Education. Its objectives are: To bring culture back into science and make science fun and exciting through music, dance, poetry, theater, debates, conferences, movie screenings and science fiction writing; to develop a sense of wonder about science; to bring science out of the narrow confines of classroom curriculum and academic circles and into mainstream culture; to encourage scientific literacy among the general public; to create networking platforms for science enthusiasts; to reach out to recognized scientists and authors from around the world, and much more,” added Lara.
She further said, “The core values are – Intelligent Optimism – which is about being thrilled, excited, and optimistic about the future in an informed and rational way based on what science and technology have to offer; Cosmic Citizenship – is about moving beyond being merely a global citizen and thinking of oneself as a citizen of the universe. It involves seeking knowledge about the cosmos and being future ambassadors for planet earth; Scientific Literacy – Science is more than a collection of facts. It’s a way of thinking. When one looks at the world through a scientifically literate lens, the world becomes a place full of answers and explanations – a world free from pseudoscience and superstition”. Her presentation received a thunderous applaud from the audience.
The programme ended with talks by Ram Puniyani, Vaidehi and Vidya Bhushan Rawat on “Humanism and Constitutional Rights”. The audience enjoyed every bit of the topic presented by these three eminent speakers.