January 8, 2015
Equitas condemns the terrorist attack which took place in Paris on Wednesday targeting the French weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo. Twelve persons died in the shooting, including eight staff of the paper. Whether or not we agree with the editorial choices of this satirical publication, it is impossible to remain unmoved by such an affront to the freedom of expression.
Promoting human rights through education has been the raison d’être of Equitas, since our founding in 1967. This tragedy is a cold reminder that despite all the efforts invested in advancing equality, justice and respect of the human dignity, much more needs to be done.
These brutal acts are a direct attack against fundamental human rights principles. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression” which includes “freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” We also note that freedoms of opinion and expression are essential to create an environment where human rights education can succeed.
As those responsible for the attack are held responsible, it is also crucial that we continue to build knowledge, shape attitudes and positive behaviours that advance the principles and values contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As the phenomenon of radicalism threatens many communities around the world, we must redouble our efforts to promote values of equality, inclusion, acceptance and respect for diversity, in order to strengthen the ability of our communities to resist extremist ideologies.