As the world marks human rights day and celebrates the freedom that is experienced by many, it remains the responsibility of us all, especially those in positions of influence, to advocate for those for whom those fundamental rights are still violated.
As Christians we believe that God has given humanity the respect and freedom to choose and live its faith, and this right is further enshrined in international treaties and agreements such as the Universal Declaration of Human rights. It is unfortunate therefore to acknowledge that an unacceptably large proportion of the world’s population continues to suffer human rights violations and lives without these freedoms.
Guarding basic human rights for all must be taken seriously. In Scripture we are reminded to speak for truth, justice and peace; this is both a responsibility and an obligation. As individuals we should advocate for those who suffer gross violations of their basic human rights, but when our efforts are expressed in unity and solidarity with people across denominations and faiths then they are far more powerful and effective for all.
As we celebrate Christmas and the New Year, we must remember those less fortunate or free than ourselves, and continue to encourage and support those who find themselves displaced, homeless, or at great risk, reminding them that they are not forgotten.
We pray for those deprived of their basic human rights across the world, as well as for continued strength to those who advocate for them, confident that those prayers and the cries of all who call upon Him are heard, reminded that “I have surely seen the oppression of My people…and have heard their cry…for I know their sorrows” (Exodus 3:7).
Human Rights Day 10 December 2013: HG Bishop Angaelos Testimony at US Congressional Hearing re Human Rights Abuses in Egypt. Watch HERE
Follow His Grace Bishop Angaelos on Twitter @BishopAngaelos