It’s always surprising to me when I talk about universal human rights around people and how little they know about them. I don’t ever see people fighting over these rights as much as American’s do about gun rights. It seems most people fight harder to be able to have the right to carry around a gun than to fight for equal access to water, education, and food. What makes guns more important than education, basic needs, and individual freedoms? Nothing, that’s what. The pen is mightier than the sword (or in this case today, guns), so shouldn’t educating people be a bigger priority than trying to get more guns into people’s hands?
The United Nations was created after the horrible World War II accounts of human tragedy. It is considered one of the worst actions against a single group of people. In an effort to get the world on a better track after that, one lady made a strong effort to push forth a group of rights, similar to the US Bill of Rights, but for everyone in the world, to show that each person should be entitled to certain unalienable rights. That lady was Eleanor Roosevelt and she used her fame as First Lady to make a change in the world after her husband had passed away. She was a very busy lady who traveled all over the world meeting with men of high status so she could gain support for her many ideas. The history of the world will know her for what she did to protect everyone that ever steps foot on this planet. At least I hope so today.
The Human rights have been around since 1948 and in all this time you would think the world would learn to respect those rights by now. Many of them are basic and simple – right to basic needs, but you would be surprised how many countries in this world are in violation of the universal human rights act. Here are some surprising statistics.
- 112 Countries Tortured their citizens in 2012
- 80 Countries conducted unfair trails
- 101 Countries repressed their people’s right to freedom of expression in 2012
Countries that are in violation of human rights are ones that encourage the following
- Child Slavery/Marriages
- Forced Labor
- Bans of Gay Rights and Marriages
- Women restricted from education
- Restriction of Religious Beliefs
- Human Trafficking
- Child/Adult Sex Trade Industry
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
1. Everyone is free and we should all be treated in the same way.
2. Everyone is equal despite differences in skin colour, sex, religion, language for example.
3. Everyone has the right to life and to live in freedom and safety.
4. No one has the right to treat you as a slave nor should you make anyone your slave.
5. No one has the right to hurt you or to torture you.
6. Everyone has the right to be treated equally by the law.
7. The law is the same for everyone, it should be applied in the same way to all.
8. Everyone has the right to ask for legal help when their rights are not respected.
9. No one has the right to imprison you unjustly or expel you from your own country.
10. Everyone has the right to a fair and public trial.
11. Everyone should be considered innocent until guilt is proved.
12. Every one has the right to ask for help if someone tries to harm you, but no-one can enter your home, open your letters or bother you or your family without a good reason.
13. Everyone has the right to travel as they wish.
14. Everyone has the right to go to another country and ask for protection if they are being persecuted or are in danger of being persecuted.
15. Everyone has the right to belong to a country. No one has the right to prevent you from belonging to another country if you wish to.
16. Everyone has the right to marry and have a family.
17. Everyone has the right to own property and possessions.
18. Everyone has the right to practice and observe all aspects of their own religion and change their religion if they want to.
19. Everyone has the right to say what they think and to give and receive information.
20. Everyone has the right to take part in meetings and to join associations in a peaceful way.
21. Everyone has the right to help choose and take part in the government of their country.
22. Everyone has the right to social security and to opportunities to develop their skills.
23. Everyone has the right to work for a fair wage in a safe environment and to join a trade union.
24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure.
25. Everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living and medical help if they are ill.
26. Everyone has the right to go to school.
27. Everyone has the right to share in their community’s cultural life.
28. Everyone must respect the ‘social order’ that is necessary for all these rights to be available.
29. Everyone must respect the rights of others, the community and public property.
30. No one has the right to take away any of the rights in this declaration.
You can watch Eleanor talk about the human rights in the videos below.
If you would like to learn more about Universal Human Rights please visit some of the links below to understand why these rights are so much more important than most other rights.
To learn more about the important effects the Roosevelt’s had on the world you can watch the latest PBS documentary that came out by Ken Burns.
How Can You Help
The best thing you can do as an individual to help promote Human Rights is to educate yourself about each right and learn to respect each person’s right to be different and to learn from them rather than fight against who they are as an individual. Passing laws that force your beliefs onto people does not promote peace but the very opposite. The easiest way also, as Ellen Degeneres always ends her show with, is “Be Kind to One Another.” It’s as simple as that.