The UK Government wants to axe Human Rights. The global community should be outraged by the suggestion that basic human rights are somehow an optional extra (presumably only reserved for those of wealth and/or status because they are the only group who’s rights are never in question). Of course, the Conservative Party running the show loves to paint this as somehow being a positive move. I, and many others around the world, are not impressed. Because what they have sold to the public as being something that only protects the supposed dredges-of-society, actually was designed to protect each and every human being in the world from corruption and injustice.
They have taken the term “Human Rights” and attempted to turn it into words, when used in conjunction, to be something that is filthy and only employed by the undesirable others (those, pesky, pesky, others). The simple fact is, if you are a human being, you have human rights, and the effect of having those stripped from you is profound.
The vast majority of my readers know and understand this. Some even comprehend it on a deeply personal level because they have had their human rights violated before. Some even multiple times. Some see justice thanks to European Court of Human Rights, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the Human Rights laws of their respective countries (if applicable, because some do not have these).
It should be immensely alarming to anyone when a nation wants to remove the human rights of its own people. There is literally no reason that justifies the sweeping disregard of protections for humanity. Yet, it seems clear that all too many people do not seem to know or understand just what Human Rights are and how it affects their own lives. It is because of this unfathomable reality that we are at risk of losing this valuable protection.
Human Rights, as defined in the Wikipedia, are as follows:
Human rights are moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behaviour, and are regularly protected as legal rights in national and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights “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.
Of course, there is more, which can be read via the link I provided, but that is the gist of what Human Rights are. To some, however, this is still a bit too cryptic.
Surprisingly, there are people in the world that feel as though those who need Human Rights are those that somehow planned on having those rights violated. Frankly speaking, the vast majority of people who rely on the protections of Human Rights give them, would dearly love it if we lived in a world where they weren’t necessary. We do not wake up in the morning, roll over and think:” Oh, gee, I think I’m going to set myself up in such a way that my rights as a human being are stripped from me so that I can be abused by a system of power!”
That’s victim-blaming at its finest (worst?): accusing those who have been abused of somehow being deserving of it. That is sick, and I’ve seen and heard it implied all too many times in mainstream media (including the article that prompted this post, which I linked to the first sentence in the first paragraph of this post) to dismiss it.
If you are a human being, you have human rights, but what does a violation of human rights look like? Well, to use this piece by Amnesty International I have highlighted cases where, in recent events in the UK and US, where the human rights of children have been violated:
Other forms of violence against children
Violence against children happens in all parts of the world.
A small – and diminishing – number of countries execute those who were children at the time of their offences. Since 2004, only China, Iran, Pakistan and Sudan have put child offenders to death. Ending the execution of child offenders is a major objective in itself and an important step on the road to total abolition of the death penalty.
The right to education
Everyone has the right to education—which should be available free to all at least at the primary level. Education is also indispensable in realizing other human rights.
Across the world many children miss out on their education because:
- they are made to work
- they are recruited into armed forces
- their families do not have the means to pay for schooling
- discrimination and racism undermine their chance to receive an education
- they face violence as they pursue their education.
These, of course, are just examples of how children (I repeat: CHILDREN) would suffer without the protection of Human Rights that are granted to all of us.
“But we could protect them and ourselves with other laws!” Really? So you would strip away rights that are already in place… only to hopefully be able to replace/adequately blanket them with other laws. When people say things like that, the only thing that comes to my mind is that they love the protections, but hate the label on the packet it comes in. When that is the reason people want to get rid of something as fundamentally important as our Human Rights, I worry a great deal about the direction the nation is headed.
Because the fact of the matter is this: If you, a friend, a family member, a coworker, a client is part of any minority group – or is considered vulnerable in any way – it is vital that you make it known to your MPs (or, if you are not in the UK, your applicable representatives in government) that the removal of Human Rights is completely and utterly unacceptable, not just here but in any part of the world.
Without Human Rights, there is one less thing to stop an employer from abusing or harassing employees;
without Human Rights, there is one less thing to prevent Law Enforcement from tapping your phone, reading your mail, your e-mail, your text messages, raiding your home… etc. without cause;
without Human Rights, there is one less thing to prevent surgeries/clinics, pharmacies/chemists, hospitals from denying you medical treatment or medicines because the person serving you at the time does not want to do it;
without Human Rights, there is one less thing to protect you from abuse, harassment or terrorism from any entity or source;
without Human Rights, there is one less thing to protecting your rights to free speech, to a fair trial, to an education;
without Human Rights, there is one less thing to stop others from enslaving you, from forcing you to work in situations which are unsafe, from committing genocide.
Without Human Rights all of us become targets and eventual victims of the corrupt. All of us.