Tio mark Human Rights Day (December 10) this year, the United Nations chose to focus on inclusion and the right to participate in public life. The UN says this right is fundamental to a functioning democratic society.
Each person should be able to choose those who represent them in all governance institutions, to stand for public office, and to vote on the fundamental questions that shape their individual and collective destinies.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, people have in recent years tackled their governments, not just in the Middle East and North Africa, but elsewhere as well, on issues covering fundamental civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights.
But the rights of many men, women and children continue to be trampled underfoot - tortured to death, raped, bombed, shelled, shot, forced from their homes, deprived of food, water, electricity and healthcare by their own governments or by armed groups, apparently intent on nothing more than keeping their grip on power.