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Participation and inclusion: celebrating Human Rights Day 2012
by Julian Waagensen
This year’s Human Rights Day (10 December) highlights the importance of inclusion and the right to participate in public life.
The right to participate means that everybody is entitled to have their voices heard, and to play a role in making the decisions that affect their lives and shape their communities. In many countries around the world government policies and practices serve to exclude the majority of citizens from decision-making. This is particularly true for the most vulnerable people in society – those deprived of a voice and powerless to influence or challenge decisions that can have a major impact on their lives.
The right to participation sits at the very core of a democratic society, and in this age of rising inequality and crackdowns on protests and dissenting voices around the world it is more important than ever.
The following film from Trócaire’s Sierra Leone partner the Fatima Institute (now the University of Makeni) illustrates the importance of participation at a local level and the impact it has on the lives of people in the community.