Today is Human Rights Day – the anniversary of the day, 67 years ago, that the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The thing about human rights is that they should be a given and they should be universal. But they're not. In order to uphold one another's basic human rights – like equality, freedom from slavery and freedom of speech – we need to observe empathy and respect. Failing that, there's the law.
Sometimes, however, municipal laws don't quite cover it – they are insubstantial or unequal in their treatment of different groups of people. That's why the charity Equality Now have decided to focus their campaigning this year on laws that discriminate specifically against women. They're calling the campaign #UnsexyLaws, which makes quite a lot of sense given that there is absolutely nothing sexy about the fact that, in the Bahamas, for example, it is still legal for women to be raped by their husband.
The list goes on, or as Jacqui Hunt, the European Director of Equality Now, puts it: "Twenty years after 189 governments pledged to 'revoke any remaining laws that discriminate on the basis of sex' as part of the Beijing Platform for Action, only just over half of the laws highlighted in our reports on the subject have been revised, appealed or amended – a great achievement, but one which falls very short of what was envisaged."