When we talk about International Human Rights day, I think immediately about what is happening in Syria. International Human Rights day this year commemorates 71 years since the signing of the UN’s Declaration on Human Rights. 

The country I was born in, and fled, was one of the 49 signatories to that commitment to human rights for everyone, and the retreat away from that pains me. Syria signed the Declaration of Human Rights but the Assad regime does not adhere to it.

My hope for Syria and for the world is to see concrete progress from those who can help take these rights from being an aspiration to an enforceable reality.  

Reading of the horrendous pain brought by the further terrorist attack in London, I see us all reminded how the experience of such vulnerability and pain can be gradually transformed by standing and working together. I have seen London stand together after this attack and my hope is for Syria to do the same. 

It’s this commitment to working together, which is needed to transform the problems in Syria. 

Since the beginning of the popular uprising for democracy in Syria in March 2011, the Syrian people have continuously witnessed the most heinous violations against civilians and children. 

The authorities have not only failed to provide protection and stability for Syria's civilians, including women and children; they have been responsible for carrying out the most egregious human rights violations against them, treating their own people as an enemy.  

These problems are compounded by Daesh. Whilst the death of al-Baghdadi was a step forward, it took less than a week for Daesh to name an essentially unknown and equally dangerous man as his replacement. 

Whilst it was Al-Baghdadi who helped to orchestrate a series of devastating wars on his own kinsmen and women and children, to stoke hate and fear, and to glamorise horrific violence – it’s the hateful illusions and narratives, and mutation of my religion, which have drawn people to the group, and further weakened stability and human rights in the country. It is this wider problem which needs to be addressed to pave the way to democracy in Syria.

I take some comfort from Eleanor Roosevelt’s comments as she helped to develop the UN’s Declaration on Human Rights; that, like charity, human rights begin at home. 

It never ceases to impress me that, facing the most testing of environments, people in Syria support each other tirelessly, share what little they have, keep each other going. My fellow Syrians won’t allow terrorists or Assad to extinguish the flame of freedom in the hearts of the Syrian people.

It’s this spirit which brings me hope and optimism that when the current regime is gone, there is a democracy waiting to happen. 

Yet it is something that we can’t do alone, and we need the UN and its most influential members to help us overcome the injustices continuing today. 

I’m fortunate enough to have been welcomed to Britain as a refugee, where democracy brings the freedoms and safety every human being has a right to. 

I yearn for my fellow citizens, every man, woman and child to have the same, to see the stable peaceful Syria that the country envisaged for itself when it was one of the founding signatories to the Declaration on Human Rights all those years ago. 

Since escaping Syria, Bahia has set up Syrian House to continue her work fighting injustice. She is dedicated to helping refugees like herself, who have made their home in the UK.  For more information about Bahia Mardini, visit her twitter page: @BahiaAlMardini1