Hello Earthlings ! 😀
This is your friend, speaking to you live from the humanity headquarters in Washington D.C. I carry my headquarters along where ever I go. 😛 ♥ So yeah ! Come visit me some time to learn more.
I was just wondering if you remember the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ? If you don’t, then let me just share with you the declaration of human rights in a simplified language. It has thirty articles. We will talk a little about how far we have achieved each.
#1. All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
#2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this declaration without any discrimination.
#3. Right to life, Liberty and Security.
Now let’s see, if we actually treat everyone as equal. Ummm. In some places and some cultures, we don’t. Who can we hold responsible for this? Well, other than the faults in our cultures, it all depends on individuals. Some individuals are born to be good human beings, and some do not even deserve to be called humans. The reason why we felt the need to have a declaration of human rights, was because some humans were violating the rights of some other humans. So all these declarations apply to humans against humans, and not against some other species. Dogs have stopped biting men. In this era, men are biting men. Do we actually let people enjoy their freedoms? Do we even give them any freedom to enjoy? Words have become swords that cut right through people’s souls.
#4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
#5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
So you think slavery is over? There are 20.9 million people trapped in slavery even today. There is another word used for it, called modern-day slavery. Human trafficking, sex trafficking, forced labor, bonded labor, forced marriage, and child labor and some of its kinds. One more type is domestic servitude, which is quite common in some rural and backward areas in South Asia and of course in other parts of the world as well. Imagine how they are all tricked and trapped into these forms of slavery and then how they would be treated. Life, under fear, is not very productive for humanity on this planet. If we humans keep torturing each other, humanity will not go very far.
#6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
#7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.
This means we all have the same right to use the law. The law must recognize all humans as equal persons and must be available to protect them where ever needed. In “Urdu” we say, “Jis ki laathi, os ki bhains”. He who is more powerful, the law will be on his side, but according to this article of the declaration of human rights, all persons are equal before the law. The rich and powerful do not own the law. The weak and poor can be equally defended by the law.
#8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
Okay, so that is some complicated terminology. It simply means we have the right to ask the law to treat us fairly if we’re not treated fairly and according to the fundamental rights granted to us by law.
#9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Have we seen that happen in the past or in recent times ? Joy Reyes ? Some others held at Guantánamo. How unfair is it to snatch someone’s right to freedom for no fault they ever committed.
#10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing.
Simply means that every human being has the right to a fair and free trial. The trial should be in public and nobody should be dictating the judges. Does that happen all the time? Nope. Some times, some rich persons can buy the judge and force him/her to decide the case in their favor against the weaker human being.
#11. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty.
So if someone is charged with a breach of the law, they are not to be held guilty untill proven guilty in the court of law. Do we not take the law into our own hands in most parts of the world? Do we not set out to declare people guilty of certin crimes they never committed and do we not punish them even before the police can reach them? Salman Taseer ? Mukhtaran Mai ? Do we even give the law a chance to interfere ?
#12. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against interference with his privacy, home, family or attacks upon his honor and reputation.
Do we not target people’s private lives on our TV talk shows any more ? Oh we do. We have specialized entertainment shows for those. Other than that, some humans are using social media to do all those things. Some other humans also seek help from the police to make the peaceful lives of other innocent human beings miserable for them. If the law enforcement agencies get busy in trying to support the bad guys in violating the rights of innocent human beings, where do the innocent human beings go to, for help ?
#13. Freedom of movement within your country, and the freedom to leave your country and then return to it.
#14. The right to seek an asylum.
#15. The right to a nationality.
Just like a free bird, you have the right to travel, and to return to your native land. You also have the right to seek an asylum in another country, if your life is in danger somewhere. You also have the right to a nationality. No body can deny you the right to belong anywhere, and you also have the right to change your nationality.
#16. Men & Women of full age, have the right to marry, and found a family. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. A family unit is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Now this is a tricky one. The universal declaration of human rights says “men” and “women”, but what about the LGBTQ, and the transgender persons are neither men nor women, while the Queer do not even identify themselves with either of the genders?
So according to this article, nobody can be forced into marriage with anybody. Marriage has to take place with the consent of the persons involved. We are still working on trying to fight child marriages. Other than that, there is a curse of “swara” in some tribal parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In order to resolve some blood fueds, young girls are married off forcibly to members of the enemy tribes. It is a 400 year old custom which still prevails in the region.
#17. Everyone has the right to own property and no one shall be deprived of their property.
Nigerian women ? Not just that, in many other parts of the world; you will find women being deprived of their rights to own a share in their father’s inheritance.
#18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
#19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
While offering your prayers, on a fireign land, or even in your own land around people who do not follow the same beliefs, you must remember that the 18th Article of the universal declaration of human rights defends you here. Oh yeah ! You tell ’em that. If that works. 😛 So you have the right to freedom of thought but while you are expressing yourself, make sure you are not violating someone else’s rights. Once, there was a man, who was swinging a stick and it hit another man on the nose. The other man said to the first man, “Yo man, your freedom ends from where my nose begins.”
#20. No body can be forced to belong to any association. Everyone has the freedom to belong to a peaceful association.
You have the right to join whatever group you want, for as long as it is peaceful and is not violating the rights of other humans. Nobody can force you to join any group if you don’t want to.
#21. You have the right to take part in the government of your country, directly or through chosen representatives. You have the right of equal access to public service in your country. You have the right to vote and choose your government. (So I basically explained this one already)
A little more explanation would do no harm. So by this Article, we have the right to a democratic government in our countries. That is one of our rights. A government that will basically make laws based on our needs, that we define for ourselves as a group or a community or citizens of that country. It means, we have the right to NOT have a dictator ruling over us. Yeah ! The best example is the United States, which is “a government of the people, by the poeple, for the people.”
#22. Every human being has the right to social security.
By this right, the citizen of a country is entitled to social security in case of unemployment, injury, old age, disability, maternity, and other such problems. It is the responsibility of the state and the right of an individual that he/she be taken care of under such circumstances.
#23. The right to work, the freedom to choose your work, protection against unemployment, equal pay, the right to form and join trade unions.
There, you have the equal pay issue already explained in the universal declaration of human rights. Everyone without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. Do women get equal pay in some parts of the world ? The right to protection from unemployment, now that is a tough one. In some parts of the world, due to a good social security in case of unemployment, able bodied persons are choosing not to work, because they get free food. The right to employment and the right to protection from unempolyment should really be taken care of. In some other countries like Pakistan, many people are not even aware of their rights, and especially these rights to social security in case of old age or disabilities.
#24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, and to periodic holidays with pay.
The need to do something for leisure is very important for the psychological wellbeing of a human being. His productivity increases with recreational activities. All work and no play makes jack a dull boy.
#25. Everyone has the right to a standard of living. Motherhood and childhood rights.
This article is partly explain by Article #22 already, viz., the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. It also includes the right to food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services. All children must be given equal care, and all mothers regardless of any kind of discrimination, must also be taken care of.
#26. The right to education.
The most important one. Yes, this is the most basic and a very important right. As this right can be used to strengthen respect for human rights and other freedoms. Everything begins with Education. Education is a basic right, and education is “Life”. We must try to educate ourselves by all means. There is no shame in learning. There is always room for more learning. Most of our problems in this world would be solved, if we can educate as many humans as possible. An educated human being is like a candle in the dark, and a guiding star in the desert. The objective of education should not be to earn money only. Of course, education can help a person earn a better living. The purpose should be to become a better-evolved human being. Education makes us more tolerant. Education makes us more learned on issues and on how to better address them. Every human being has the right to be a better person and as a result of wich he/she can become a blessing for humanity. According to this Article, parents can choose the kind of education they want their children to get. (hmmm this is a bit tricky and is sometimes misused)
#27. Intellectual property rights and the right to enjoy and participate in art and culture.
You have the right to your own brainchild. You also have the right to participate in cultural celebrations and art activities. You have the right to display your art work, to publish your creative work, or to perform in theater for as long as it does not attack anyone or violate any of the rights of any other human beings.
#28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
This means you have the right to a peaceful world, and an environment where you can grow and learn and all of your rights declared here are protected. Syria ? Afghanistan ? Pakistan ? The middle east ?
#29. Your duty to the community.
Everyone who is a part of a community, has responsibilities toward his own community, because his free and full personal development is possible only in that community. Oh and as I have mentioned this a few times earlier in this post, in while exercising your rights, this Article makes sure you do not violate the rights of other human beings. So it is our responsibility as human beings, to protect the rights of other human beings as well.
#30. No one can take these rights away from you. (Simplified version of the final Article)
So what do you think ? How far and wide have we achieved any of these ?
Disclaimer: You may refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is my own explanation and viewpoints of what I have felt and observed till now, and my viewpoint is subject to change with time, age and space. Your rights were not violated while I was writing a commentry on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You have the right to post a comment. I have the right to delete any comments that I do not like.