Human Rights: What and Where are the Pressing Issues?


Hi Followers and a happy Thursday to you all! I hope you guys are having a great week and if not, just remember, there is that Friday that is not far beyond the horizon. All positivity aside, today I wanted to talk about one of the most ignored topics in modern history–human rights. I will discuss what these rights cover so we can deduce what the most pressing needs are, based on news reporting.

Definition and A Brief History of Human Rights 

The phrase “Human Rights” as defined by Wikipedia refers to inalienable fundamental rights granted by the GOVERNMENT “to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being”, and which are “inherent in all human beings “regardless of their nation, location, language, religion, ethnic origin or any other status. They are applicable everywhere and in every sense of the world should be universal and egalitarian.  The history of human rights can be traced to past documents, particularly Constitution of Medina (622), Al-Risalah al-Huquq (late 7th to early 8th century), Magna Carta (1215), the German Peasants’ War Twelve Articles (1525), the English Bill of Rights (1689), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), and the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution(1791). 

What rights do Human Rights cover?

The substantive rights granted under the umbrella of human rights are:

1. Right to life

The right to life is the essential right a human being has the right not to be killed by another human being or kill another human being. The concept of a right to life is basis to debates on the issues of abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, self-defence and war. United States has been in discussing these topics during election years; maybe they should consider them in terms of human rights and see if that changes perspectives and facilitates the conversation.

2. Freedom from torture

3. Freedom from slavery

Freedom from slavery is internationally recognised as a human right. There are many slaves still TODAY in the form of debt slaves, who are under debt bondage incurred by lenders, sometimes even for generations.Human trafficking is another aspect of modern-day slavery and is primarily for prostituting women and children into sex industries. Many South Asian and Asian, and certain European countries have this type of modern slavery.

4. Right to a fair trial

5. Freedom of speech

6.  Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

The Following are debated rights:

1. Right to keep and bear arms

2. Future generations

This right safeguards the needs and interests of the present and future generations. The  declaration covers a variety of issues including protection of the environment, the human genome, biodiversity, cultural heritage, peace, development, and education. The idea whether medical care, education, and perseverance of the environment should be the responsibility of the government or should be privatized is still being debated.  

3. Sexual orientation and gender identity

Sexual orientation and gender identity rights relate to the expression of sexual orientation and gender identity based on the right to respect for private life and the right not to be discriminated against on the ground of “other status”. Issues include: government recognition of same-sex relationships, LGBT adoption, sexual orientation and military service, immigration equality, anti-discrimination laws, hate crime laws regarding violence against LGBT people. 

4. Trade

Although both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights emphasize the importance of a right to work, neither of these documents explicitly mention free trade as a mechanism for ensuring this fundamental right. And yet trade plays a key role in providing jobs.

Some experts argue that trade is inherent to human nature and that when governments inhibit international trade they directly inhibit the right to work and the other indirect benefits, like the right to education, that increased work and investment help accrue. Others have argued that the ability to trade does not affect everyone equally—often groups like the rural poor, indigenous groups and women are less likely to access the benefits of increased trade.

On the other hand, others think that it is no longer primarily individuals but companies that trade through government facilitation, and therefore it cannot be guaranteed as a human right. 

Leave a Reply