Human Rights-whose do we observe?

the rights of manPart 2 of what I hope has already got several minds thinking. For the sake of this topic I am going to take the position that, as humans, we do have  certain rights as individuals, and that such rights should be enshrined in law. In the same manner I also accept that such law should be for all people and for all time, and thereby I recognise the legal validity of such documents as

  1. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human rights (click her for full version), (click here for a summary),
  2. The Declaration of the rights of Man and the Citizen
  3. The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine

Such recognition does not mean that I believe such documents to be workable, but I accept that they are the best that are available, and thereby the best of all possible guides; more about this point later. My theme for this particular blog is which human rights should be given precedence when two or more human rights are incompatible, or in plain English; whose human rights do we observe? Still puzzled, well look at the chap in the picture; what rights do you think he would have been able to exercise?

There he sits, as worn out and as tired as the ruffled shirt and torn coat that hangs loosely around his shoulders.His right hand, now clenched into a fist, sits on the table, while his left hand cradles a rough bag or basket that he hugs to his side. Does it look as though he would be able to exercise his right to the full 30 articles of the human rights declaration, and if we come up to the modern day, how many of us could do the same It would take too long to go through every article but  two will serve us well as examples. After a long day at work, and after yet another frustratingly fruitless  argument with our alleged superiors, are we, and the chap in the picture, one and the same

Article 18.

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

What a wonderful statement, but how utterly impossible, it seems, to carry such a statement through. On the international stage, and throughout history, how many wars have been fought because of religion?. How many people have been tortured, murdered, enslaved, and persecuted over the years, and how many faiths have been subject to discrimination and government or populace controlled intimidation? The list is endless, and it is growing by the day, so how can such an article stand? It is a noble ideal, and a wonderful concept, but life is about reality, and not about nebulous dreams. Even on an individual level it falls down rapidly. Look at this article and think about the likely responses that I may receive.

These are my thoughts, I am free to hold them, and as I am not promoting any racist, sexist, or whatever views, I have a right to express them, but soon I may read the response of:-

“You can’t say that, it’s wrong”

How do I know, as I have heard it allready. I expressed such views to a friend who had previously stated that I was always too reasonable, but when I voiced my views she disapproved. In essence she wanted me to express my views, but only if they were acceptable to her. Do you see what I mean?

Article 19.

  • 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.

This is even better to my mind, as it is so irrevocably flawed and impossible to achieve.  As nations, governments, social groups, and individuals, do we not accept only that which we want to hear, and yet do we not claim that we are always right and it is our voice that should be heard? This may seem a touch brutal to some readers, but though it is brutal, is it not also true? Look at the picture on the left of Martin Luther King. He had a dream, a wonderful dream that stirred a nation. It should have ended all discrimination, given equality to all those living in America, but how sits America, and other countries today Racial Segregation, is, too a large extent history, but still other related barriers remain.

In this blog I am speaking and writing openly, but how many other writers and other individuals have to be more careful, so much so that if they come out and write or speak openly they may well die? click here for the charity pen-international, for further details.

This is a long post that I must now draw to a close, but I will leave it on an note which may be uncomfortable for some. How many of us want to give such freedom to thoughts, deeds, or actions outside of our comfort zone, and how many of us , in our heart of hearts, believe in N.I.M.B.Y isms, or not-in-my-backyard?

To a lesser or greater extent I believe we all are guilty of such thoughts  and attitudes, no matter how well they are hidden, but then, that is only natural, as how else can we survive. Any thoughts or replies?


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2 replies


  1. Daily Prompt: I Believe | Let me tell U a story
  2. Who should have their say…who decides « Let me tell U a story

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