Human rights describe equal rights and freedom for anyone and everyone regardless of race, color, sex, language, religion or political affiliation. All humans live in societies together. As stated by the U.N. declaration of Human Rights in 1948 “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” This statement defines that each and every human is entitled to all rights. Human rights are fundamental to human existence. There may be disagreement on the details of human rights, but barely any on the basic aspects of them. Human rights were always violated in human history. The leaders mostly oppressed people and did not grant their entitled human rights. Even religious leader in some cases were responsible for the violation of human rights.
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Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can attest to the basic fundamental human rights that we all share. In order to be at a level of satisfaction an individual must meet five basic criteria. The basic needs are the physiological needs (food, water, etcaˆ¦), safety needs, needs of love and affection, needs for esteem, and once everything else is met, self-actualization or as Maslow describe it, “the need to be and do that which a person was born to do.” This ties in with human rights in that it can connect us and become equals. Even though the U.N. has made a declaration concerning human rights, we as humans should not have an international governing body lay it out for us. Leaders, citizens, all people should know that we are all free and have rights that should be met. If not, measures should be taken to make sure that every human being’s rights are not violated.
History of the Issue
Human right has been constantly evolving throughout human history. They have been tied to the laws, customs and religions. An example of laws that contain references to individual rights is the tablet of Hammurabi. This tablet was created by the Sumerian king Hammurabi about 4000 years ago. While considered barbaric in today’s world, the system of 282 laws created a model for the legal system. This kind of model protected people from arbitrary persecution and punishment. But the problems with Hammurabi’s code were mostly due to its cause and effect nature, it held no protection on more abstract ideas such as race, religion, beliefs, and individual freedoms or commonly called human rights.
The term has only come into common use in the 20th century. The idea of ‘human rights’ is not universal, it is the product of 17th and 18th century European thought. The idea itself does not exist in every society or civilization. This issue was a major cause in 17th century England. The protection of the people’s right (mostly right to political participation, and freedom of religious belief and observance) against an oppressive government was the start of the English Civil War of 1640. It was also the start for another revolution called the “Glorious Revolution” in 1688, which then led to the English Bill of Rights a year later.
The Bill of Rights dealt with the fundamental concerns of that time. It subjected the King to the rule of the law like any other citizen instead of the King claiming to be divine. It protected some basic rights to justice, cruel and unusual punishments and unfair trials etcaˆ¦ Near the end of the 18th century, the philosopher John Locke argued that it was part of God’s natural law that no-one should harm anyone in their pursuit of life, liberty, possessions, and health. These rights could never be given up. If these rights were threatened to be taken away it was necessary to do whatever to protect them. From this view the government’s role was limited in that people could be not under control of a ruler without their consent. The responsibility of a government is to protect the natural rights of its people. This idea also led to the American Revolution with the formation of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration states that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” which assert that premise of human rights. Even with the declaration in place, and later the constitution; women were not recognized to have rights and slavery was still instituted throughout the whole nation.
The doctrines of human rights that are in place now are a result of these ideas from early generation of thinkers. Human rights are ‘natural’ in that every person owns them regardless of a system of law, religion, or government. Governments must be able to protect and respect these laws and promote them to all individuals. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was made by the U.N. in an effort to make human rights part of international law. The greatest 20th century statements of ‘natural’ or human rights can be dated to 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This preceded a range of international Conventions, Covenants, Declarations and other treaties that have followed the tradition. Most came from the United Nations. But other groups have also adopted human rights standards. Some common universal rights are the right to an education, freedom, life, and the right to own property and cultural rights. The declaration serves to protect these rights in those nations that signed it and helps make aware of nation-states that violate and suppress the rights of their own citizens.
Causes and Impacts of the Issue
There are many events in history that can be traced to the cause of human rights being a focus point. These events had probable causes to why there are human rights violations today. One cause is the state. The state or government may impose certain laws that infringe on individual’s freedoms because they believe it’s necessary in order to maintain power or eliminate opposition. For example public humiliation, or punishment such as those taken place in some middle eastern can be seen as violations. Another cause is the lack of generosity or selfishness that states and individuals have. Companies that produce bottled water or provide it to countries often charge families more then they earn in a day’s wage just for water. Certain elements of cultures and religions can lead to practices that violate human rights as well.
Based on these causes an increase of human rights violations has impacted the entire global community in the past to the future. The use of child labor has been dated back to the industrial revolution in England. According to UNICEF, there was an estimated 158 million children aged 5 to 14 in child labour worldwide, excluding child domestic labour. Another violation is the ongoing mass murders that occurred and/are occurring now. Currently the Darfur conflict is a major human rights violation because the Sudanese government is destroying African Muslim communities because some among them have challenged Khartoum’s authoritarian rule. As a result, more than 400,000 civilians have been killed and 2.5 million people are displaced from their homes. Other violations such as racism, the Rwandan genocide, and the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in the 1990s are examples of some human rights violations that have occurred in history. It is estimated that at least 60 million people have died in wars and human rights abuses since 1945 and this number continues to climb if no action is taken. Countries that fail to take action will see an increase in deaths due to human rights violations.
Conclusion and Solutions
There are many solutions out there to prevent the abuse of human rights. Through education and the media people can be aware of the numerous human rights violations taking place in the world today and gain some knowledge of what’s going on in the world. Organizations have erupted in an effort to protect the rights of those that have been violated. One organization that does this is the Amnesty International. Amnesty International as quoted in their website “aˆ¦inspires hope for a better world through public action and international solidarity. We help stop human rights abuses by mobilizing our members and supporters to put pressure on governments, armed groups, companies and intergovernmental bodies.” Another group is Doctors for Borders an organization created by doctors to help those in nearly 60 countries threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, principally due to conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters.
These organizations reflect the impact of the Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration has paved the way for people to realize the potential threats of human rights abuse. I believe that the world and the people residing have had enough time to see what has occurred in the past. We need to learn from our mistakes in the past and never let such atrocities such as the torture of the Jewish families in the concentration camps, segregation in the U.S., or the gulags in Russia take place. Countries are more educated now and all should take a stand. We are all one people living under the same roof and I think human rights of all individuals should be protected. Being a Catholic, I hear sometimes hear people say to other people “go to hell” and they respond by “I’m already here.” If we respected our fellow brethren and took the time help those in need, take of the earth etcaˆ¦we could turn this so called hell into heaven ourselves.