The ever hopeful UN kept on observing, every 10th of December, what it calls “Human Rights Day.” Last December, the day was commemorated around the world (almost) with one motto: Human Rights 365. This year will mark half a century since the world agreed to give effect to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. Butwith less than a year to go the UN frets that “on any scale, 2014 will be remembered as a year of daunting human rights challenges.” UN’s task of ensuring these wish lists in countries which are signatories to the declarations is indeed daunting and monumental at the same time.
News of sluggish economic performance in the euro zone and across the Atlantic in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis and its destabilizing impact for the world was steadily offset – thanks largely to manufacturing growth in China and commodity riders of the Middle East and Latin America. As the Asian powerhouses demanded more energy, food and metals and had no problem paying for it, suppliers of Brazilian ore and their counterparts in the Gulf and Africa kept investment and growth going. This much is true about the recession in the west and the emergence of growth centers elsewhere, which became a narrative that left the story of a more important growth trajectory taking shape, albeit quietly, in Africa.
Kamilat Mehdi, a young Ethiopian from Addis Abeba, was acid burned by her ex-boyfriend; and Betel Addisu, a resident in Wollega, in western Ethiopia, was also acid burned by a man who had had an intimate relationship with her. Both attacks left the victims’ delicate faces disfigured beyond recognition, forever. And Aberash Hailay, a flight attendant at the national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, was left blinded by her ex-husband, who took both her eyes out with a knife because she wanted to leave him after years of troubled relationship. These are but few stories of violence against women that made it to the headlines in the last few years only.