My New Year’s resolution: we have to keep fighting injustice

John Jeanette Solstad Remø Credit: AI Norway

1 January 2014

“No two people in this world are identical. We are all different and unique. That’s why everyone should be given the opportunity to live their lives the way they wish (as long as they do not harm other people). To achieve this, we must stop dividing people into different groups, stop making enemies, stop thinking it’s you vs. me and us vs. them.

“This may sound like utopia. However, the people working for Amnesty International have proved there is another way. It’s a great challenge, but there is no other way than to continue to fight injustice, no matter who it affects and no matter where on earth it happens.

“It is important to remember that it’s never the victim of discrimination who is the problem. The offender always bears responsibility.

“Most countries have signed The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which should provide all citizens protection against discrimination. If, however, you are a human being who also happens to be transgender, you’re only protected if you’re a citizen of Argentina or Denmark.

“In many countries you are not granted legal gender recognition in accordance with your gender identity and your gender expression, unless you have a psychiatric assessment, as well as hormonal and surgical treatment. In some countries you are regarded as a criminal and put to prison for a lifetime and even sentenced to death, just for being yourself.

“Many countries have a long way to go when it comes to fulfilling human rights. I am certain that we’ll see more injustice in the year to ahead.

“My hope for 2015, though, is that political leaders in western democracies will introduce similar legislation as Argentina and Denmark. That would be a strong message to the rest of the world.”

By John Jeanette Solstad Remø, transgender rights activist in Norway