Heavy-handed, oppressive, cynical and self-serving behaviour by governments around the world have created, over the years, a healthy scepticism for the notion that human rights universally carry meaning and weight and a measure of importance countries and societies other than as high-minded ideals embossed on thick paper resting on a pedestal or lining a waste basket.
And more is the shame. For respect for human rights is the bedrock of a society that rests upon the belief in the sanctity of human life. Where such respect is absent, governments (rulers) tend to rule arbitrarily with the clenched iron fist for the benefit of the few rather than with the outstretched hand of the rule of law for the benefit of the many.
Equally is the shame that, since the proclamation and adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 73 years ago this day, the Declaration has itself been ignored, disregarded, and even scorned by individuals and governments alike. For the ideals and the principles it enshrines flow from the deepest fountains of the human heart. We ought never disregard them nor ever cease to reach for them.
The Declaration was intended to affirm the complete, utter rejection by the civilized world of the Nazis and Axis ideology of racism toward and disdain for the lives of others. The Declaration – recognizing “the inherent dignity in all human beings” – marked a high point in humanity’s advance. December 10, 1948 is indeed a date worthy of celebration.
Thankfully, ours is a society, where respect for human rights is enshrined into our laws and into our way of life. Sadly, however, there are occasional breaches in the application of our wide societal respect for human rights. Ontario’s failure to provide equal treatment for all Ontarians in the funding of religious education in its public school system is one such breach – an egregious one – that we hope to remedy. Moral suasion, private lobbying, public advocacy and plain parental pleading have failed over the past quarter century and more to convince Ontario to end repair the breach. The courts now are our only option to compel Queen’s Park to do the right thing. To help underwrite the lawsuit that GAJE is preparing, please click here.
For further information, please contact Israel Mida at firstname.lastname@example.org
Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.
Finally, we imagine in light of the rising pandemic numbers among schoolchildren, Queen’s Park this week made Rapid Covid Antigen Testing Kits available to the families in independent schools. All independent schools in Ontario received a communication from the Ministry of Education at the end of the school day on December 6 stating that if they wished to receive the rapid voluntary testing kits for use over the Christmas holidays, they were required to complete the requisite form by 3:00 pm the next day, December 7.
There was a grudging sense of obligation to the government’s decision. But at least it did the right thing.
Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),
December 10, 2021