Following the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines
This paper is on the topic of human rights. It begins by defining human rights. It also mentions important people throughout the history of human rights’ development. The paper speculates on how different countries handle human rights and the violations therein. Finally, the paper assesses what the causes, effects, and solutions are to each country having its own human rights policies.
Heading: Definition and meaning
- Human rights are a more understanding and definition ensuring that humans are allotted basic rights, such as the right to life.
Heading: Historical landmarks/people in Human Rights Development
- Abraham Lincoln – fought a war in order to free the slaves, thus reinstating the human right to not be enslaved by other humans.
- Mikhail Gorbachev – Led Soviet Union’s transition from communism to democracy, oversaw Berlin Wall fall, demanded religious freedom and the end of restrictions on free speech.
- Desmond Tutu – campaigned against apartheid in South Africa, and attempts to end sexism, homophobia and poverty. Educates the African public on AIDS awareness and prevention.
- Paul Rusesabagina – fought for over 1,000 Hutu and Tutsi natives during the Rwandan genocides
Heading: Comparison of Countries idea of Human Rights
- United States: Everybody has the basic right to life, nobody is enslaved, capital punishment exists if you are convicted of a crime, meaning we kill our own and the right to life can be taken away. Women not forced to marry, or have children.
- India: Women are property, must have children, can be murdered if they do not have a son. Many times husbands are not convicted. People do not have the right to life. Slavery exists. Poverty is endless cycle.
- North Korea: Freedom of speech does not exist. Interment camps exist, i.e. slavery exists, documented murders because people have not had the proper haircut.
- China: Women only allowed one baby, two if the first is a girl. Working conditions that of the U.S.’s working conditions in the 1920’s (deplorable). Wages next to nothing meaning poverty is prevalent.
Heading: Issues with different policies/Solutions
- Different countries have different rules
- Not everybody has the right to life
- Some people still slaves
- Still property
- Forced to do things, or keep quiet
- Solution? Create one doctrine that states human rights to be followed the world over.
Human rights attempts to define the rights we are all granted as humans, according to Rhona Smith’s “Textbook on International Human Rights .” The most basic of these rights is the right to life. As a human that is born, we are all granted the right to live our lives as we wish, within reason. Many of us would like sacks of cash delivered to our doorstep and a nice car in our driveway. Of course, these things will never happen so human rights cover aspects of life, such as living life itself, the right not to be enslaved, the right to free speech, and the freedom from torture, among others . Many faces have helped shape the human rights movement throughout the centuries, fighting for human rights concerning genocide, poverty, health, and slavery. Unfortunately, the reason that so many brave people have had to stand up for these causes is primarily that so many countries have different standards for human rights. Many countries do not believe, for example, that freedom of speech is a human right. In order for human rights to work, we must come together as a world nation, and drop the boundaries at our countries borders.
Faces of Human Rights
Of course, one of the most well known activists for human rights was the fourteenth president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln believed not only in the rights to life and freedom of speech, but also in the right to freedom itself, and according to Jack Donnelly’s “Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice,” Lincoln was on an unstoppable mission when he decided to free the slaves . Lincoln saw that it was wrong for a man to be enslaved by another man for any reason, even the color of his skin, and sought to free all people, setting a landmark precedent that would ignite a Civil Rights movement that still goes on today. Mikhail Gorbachev is mentioned in Clare Ovey’s “The European Convention of Human Rights” as being instrumental in the Soviet Union’s transition from communism to democracy . When many fell silent, Gorbachev stood and demanded that religious freedoms be brought to the people of the former Soviet Union. He also demanded that the people be given freedom of speech, having recognized that this country had lived in the dark ages for too long. As he watched the Berlin Wall fall, he knew that it would be a long road for this fledgling country’s human rights, but he had hope . Desmond Tutu spent part of his life campaigning against the apartheid in South Africa, crusading as a human rights activist. After his endeavors with that, he continued as an activist by attempting to end sexism, homophobia, and poverty in South Africa. He also began educating the public on AIDS awareness and how to prevent the disease . Paul Rusesabagina, as mentioned in Journal of Social Issues’ “A World without Genocide: Prevention, Reconciliation, and the Creation of Peaceful Societies” was credited with saving the lives of over 1,200 Hutu and Tutsi natives during the Congo war, where a massive genocide took place. One million people were left dead, and millions more were left displaced. Rusesabagina, a Hutu, could have easily fled, as his people had been given power by the French. However, he saw that genocide was wrong, and that his wife’s people, his people were being deprived the right to safe, happy lives. He could not stand this and did everythign he could to shelter people in his hotel, creating yet another landmark story for human rights. He was able to get the United Nation’s attention and save hundreds of lives . These people, and many others, have all contributed to seeing what is wrong with the world, and attemtping to uphold what they believe should be a universal doctrine of human rights.
Comparing Countries Idea of Human Rights
Unfortunately for human rights’ activists, as well as humans in general, many countries do not share the same ideas when it comes to this topic. The United States, according to Jim Ife’s, “Human Rights and Social Work: Towards Rights-Based Practice,” is one of the more progressive countries. The U.S. believes in a basic right to life, however capital punishment does exist. This is only given after a a jury of peers convicts an individual which is necessary due to a human’s right to a fair trial. The U.S. also does not force women to marry or have children, and does not condone slavery . India, for example, is a stark contrast. Women are considered property, and they are often forced into having children. They can be beaten or murdered if they refuse, or if they only produce female children. Husbands are rarely convicted. The murder of female babies, or infanticide/gendercide is common and sometimes encouraged. These two instances eliminate the right to life. Women cannot speak out against the crimes perpetrated against them by their husbands, meaning they are denied the right to a fair trial, as well. Slavery also exists and poverty can be an endless cycle . North Korea and China also have different views on human rights. Freedom of speech does not exist at all in North Korea, and slave labor camps still exist . In China, women are only allowed to have one child, two if the first is a girl. If they have three, the child can be forcibly removed by abortion, eliminating the right to life and effectively making the woman an object.
Issues and Solutions
Essentially, different countries have different rules. They have different ideas of what is humane, and even who is worthy of human treatment. Not everybody has the right to life. Some people are still forced into slavery, or thought of as property. Others are murdered; infants are killed just because they are girls. Women in China have to hide their second and third children because they are not allowed to plan their own families. People in North Korea are forced to sing songs that honor their dictator, even if they do not like him. To speak ill of him would mean certain death, or time in a slave labor camp. Many different countries have made up their own solutions for what is humane, and what is not. There is a very simple solution to this problem, and that is to create one set of rules stating a list of human rights that are to be followed by every country in the world.
Human rights appear to be a very straightforward idea to most people. The right to live, the right to speak freely, the right to practice religion freely, and the right to freedom in general are only a few to be named. Many individuals throughout history have fought to preserve these obvious human rights, attempting to keep humans safe and happy, righting the wrongs of those who seek to upset the balance. However, there will always be people who try to do this. Whether it is in the slave labor camps of North Korea, or with the infanticide of India, or the genocide in Africa, many countries have different opinions on what is considered humane, or a human right. This could be easily solved by stating one set of rules for the entire world. Though enforcing this idea would be just as difficult, in the end it may be worth it.
Human Rights – Set of rights given to all human beings, inherited to us based on the fact that we are human, and we are born.
Right to Life – The right to live, unless we violate that right upon another person.
Freedom of Speech – The freedom to say what we are thinking without fear of persecution.
Right to a Fair Trial – The right to a trial based on our crimes; a trial in front of a jury of our peers including due process.
Freedom From Torture – Freedom from fear of being tortured.
Infanticide – The murdering of an infant.
Genocide – The mass murdering of a people based on race, nationality, religion etc.
Capital Punishment – The death penalty; the punishment given for a crime.
Slave Labor – A large group performing work, or labor, under the threat of torture, pain, stress, r duress.
Activist - Active member vigorously working for causes; primarily political in nature
Donnelly, J. (Ithaca). Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. 2013: Cornell University Press.
Ife, J. (Cambridge). Human Rights and Social Work: Towards Rights-Based Practice. 2012: Cambridge University Press.
Ovey, C. (2010). The European Convention on Human Rights. Oxford Press: London.
Smith, R. (London). Textbook on International Human Rights. 2013: Oxford University Press.
Staub, E. (2013). A World without Genocide: Prevention, Reconciliation, and the Creation of Peaceful Societies. Journal of Social Issues, 180-199.