Today is International Human Rights Day and marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
This uplifting charter, where it holds sway, stands between individuals and communities and the kind of barbarisms inflicted on the people of Syria, Yemen, the Rohingya living in Myanmar and, despite how Israel’s champions argue, the ghettoed people of Gaza and too many of Israel’s own citizens.
To mark the occasion the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission commissioned research and found that the great majority of us — 84% — believe that stronger protections for human rights and equality make this Republic a better place to live, a view reflected in recent referendum results.
Even more of us — 86% — say they care deeply about making Ireland a fairer place to live. That ambition is expressed by 89% of 18-24-year olds who believe that housing should be a right; 78% of 18-24-year olds want a right to housing recognised in our Constitution.
How that entirely admirable objective, one that seems ever more pressing might be reconciled with our unwavering commitment to capitalism and the property market’s cartwheeling remains to be seen.
It is right that we celebrate this anniversary — as our defence forces have done consistently through serving on international peace missions — but should we, in our comparative comfort, do more to ensure others enjoy the same protections?