Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy - Proverbs 31:8-9
Recently, I was looking through my library for an important book and my eyes caught something else; a commentary on “Magna Carta”. This is not what I am looking for, I told myself. But my mind immediately drifted to memory lane and I remembered this book was one of three books given to me as a gift by a High Court Judge in Lagos, Nigeria sometime in 1992 on successful completion of an internship in his court. Any lawyer who is interested in defending human rights violations would always have a copy of the Magna Carta created in 1215, as well as the United Nations Universal Declarations of Human Rights, 1945/1948. These two Charter of Rights or Declarations as they are usually called are the oldest proclamation on the equality of all men. In summary, both are saying, no one person is superior to the other, all men have equal rights, and justice to all men! But in reality, this is not so! So many people have become destitute, jailed, hungry, homeless, displaced and poor, especially in Africa. As a lawyer, I am aware that the major reasons the prisons are congested from time immemorial are because so many innocent persons are kept there without trial and the State does not care. In fact, the State is the greatest violator of human rights to the extent that it has failed to make adequate provisions for everyone. Disease, Ignorance, and poverty have taken over the psyche of the Society. How do we put an end to these?
Today’s word says you must arise and defend human rights violations anywhere you are! In order to make those two Declarations effective, so many Conventions, Protocols, and other laws have been made yet to no avail. Two reasons basic rights cannot be enforced are: One, about 90% of the people do not know what rights they have! For instance, how many people are aware that they ought not to be homeless, hungry, undignified and impoverished? In fact, we ought to collectively hold the government accountable to the people for these lapses. Two, the institutions of learning where people ought to learn or get exposed to their basic rights are completely paralyzed. Paralyzing the schools is a deliberate action of the State or government to ensure that people do not get the opportunity to develop their mental power to a point of realization of their rights and entitlements within the State. Beloved, it is time to speak out against injustice and cruelty at all levels. Do not just sit there and watch your leaders deprive others of their liberty and means of sustenance. Do not fold your hands and watch the strong molest the weak. Speak out against the oppression of all types. The prophets of old spoke against their governments and the oppressors of their time. They spoke in defense of the poor. Jesus did likewise. He defended the woman accused of adultery and spoke against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. To build our Society, we must speak against societal ills. To uplift the poor and to help the destitute, we must arise and defend their rights. When our Society is great and good, we too shall be good and happy!