Human Rights Violations
Paola MArtinez, 12.09.2012 04:51
Human rights advocates agree that 60 years after its issue, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still more a dream than reality.
Human rights violations occur daily in all parts of the world. Amnesty International's World Report 2012 documents restrictions on free speech in at least 91 and the torture and ill-treatment of people in at least 101 countries – in many cases for taking part in demonstrations.
Women and children in particular are marginalized in numerous ways, it is estimated that six million children have been maimed in armed conflicts in the last decade. The press is not free in many countries, and dissenters are silenced, too often permanently.
While some gains have been made over the last six decades, human rights violations still plague our world today.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified by the United Nations in 1948 states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
The Amnesty International report is 444 pages long and cites to specifics on numerous human rights violations including torture, cruel and degrading treatment and punishment for engaging in peaceful protest.
According to the report, “A failure to intervene in Sri Lanka and inaction over crimes against humanity in Syria – one of Russia’s main customers for arms – left the UN Security Council looking weak as a guardian of global peace.”
The report noted that, “States with a long record of rights violations including China threw the full weight of their security apparatus into the suffocation of protest. There has been no improvement in North Korea’s horrific human rights situation.”
Not far from home, the reported stated that, “social protest gathered strength in the Americas, frequently bringing people into confrontation with powerful economic and political interests. Activists were threatened and killed, including in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.”
And journalists seeking to report on abuse and mis-treatment have been imprisoned, tortured and murdered around the globe. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 32 journalists have been killed so far in 2012. Just in August 2012, three journalists were killed and several others were kidnapped.
In May of this year, Marco Antonio Ávila García, aged 39, became the sixth journalist in Mexico to have been killed in a period of one month. His body was found stuffed in a garbage bag on a roadside in northwestern Mexico.
Human rights exist, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the entire body of international human rights law. They are recognized at least in principle by most nations and form the heart of many national constitutions. Yet the actual situation in the world is far distant from the ideals envisioned in the Declaration.
To some, the full realization of human rights is a remote and unattainable goal. International human rights laws are difficult to enforce and pursuing a complaint can take years and a great deal of money. These international laws serve a restraining function but are insufficient to provide adequate human rights protection, as evidenced by the stark reality of abuses perpetrated daily.
Discrimination is rampant throughout the world. Thousands are in prison for speaking their minds. Torture and politically motivated imprisonment, often without trial, are commonplace, condoned and practiced even in some democratic countries.
As humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard stated, "Human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream." He firmly believed that all citizens of the world must do something about it. To learn more about your human rights or Youth for Human Rights visit www.youthforhumanrights.org or to learn about or distribute copies of the "What Are Human Rights" booklets visit www.humanrights.com.