Everyone has the right to life and happiness

Pope Francis with the poor and vulnerable who have equal rights like all others

70 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  it is regrettable to note that many fundamental rights are still being violated today. We are reminded of this through Pope Francis’ untiring and outspoken campaign in favour of those rights lacking to many in today’s world.

Throughout this year the Pontiff has been harping on the issue of human rights. In his address at the beginning of the year to members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Vatican he said that “There is a significant relation between the Gospel message and the recognition of human rights in the spirit of those who drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

In that speech, Pope Francis looked ahead to today’s 70th anniversary of the adoption of that Declaration by the United Nations in 1948 which recognizes that “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world” is based on “the inherent dignity” and the “equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family”.

Pope Francis acknowledged in January that with the passage of 70 years, “particularly in the wake of the social upheaval of the 1960s, the interpretation of some rights has progressively changed”. Other rights, he noted, have been added. Paradoxically, he said that in the name of human rights we now face the risk of “modern forms of ideological colonization by the stronger and the wealthier, to the detriment of the poorer and the most vulnerable”. Nothing, not even the “traditions of individual peoples” can be used to disrespect the “fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, the Pope said.

On many other occasions this year, Pope Francis continually repeated that “it is regrettable to note that many fundamental rights are still being violated today”. Among these rights he mentions:

  •  The right to life, particularly of the unborn and the elderly;
  •  The rights of women who suffer “violence and oppression, even within their own   families”;
  •  The rights of the victims of human trafficking and modern forms of slavery;
  •    The right to food and water;
  •    The right to health care which “is not a consumer good, but a universal right” ;
  •    The right to live in peace;
  •    The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
  •    The right to work;
  •    The right to migrate and freedom of movement;
  •     The right to form a family;
  •    The right of children to a father and a mother;
  •    The right for parents to provide for the religious and moral education of their       Children;
  •     The right not be colonised by those who want to impose certain ideologies, such as       Gender;
  •    The right to conscientious objection;
  •    The right to speak which extends also to the Church;
  •    The right to receive the proclamation of the Gospel;
  •    The right to be happy.