Sometimes, some of us are of the opinion that everyone should know their rights as individuals, that everyone can protect them, that everyone understands them and that everyone can protect the rights of others or at least, respect it. I believe this is totally wrong. Not everyone knows their rights, not everyone can protect them, not everyone understands them and not everyone can protect the rights of others. While some can help to protect them, others can just try to violate or disrespect them.
The name as always, is Amy’s blog. Today I’ll be talking about human rights, why they matter and why we should talk about them.
Human rights. What are they? Why do they matter? Why should we talk about them? Why do they count? Why should I be concerned about the rights of another person? Are my rights being protected or are they being violated? This and many more are the questions that come into some of our minds when the subject of human rights comes up.
Generally speaking, human rights are applicable everywhere and at every time, in the sense that they are universal. They are egalitarian, i.e, being the same for everyone. Egalitarianism is the concept that all citizens of a state and all human beings should be accorded exactly equal rights. Human rights are generally categorised into two groups; civil and political rights. Civil rights refer to the freedom of an individual within the limit of the land, which enables citizens to enjoy their fundamental human rights as guaranteed by a country. They are those rights which are expressly enumerated in the constitution and are considered unquestionable, deserved by all people under all circumstances especially without regard to creed, gender, race etc. Civil rights ensures the safe protection of individual rights such as; freedom of thought, assembly, speech and many more.
The political rights are those rights which enable a citizen to be involved in the government and politics of her/his nation. The rights guaranteed to one here are; right to vote and be voted for, right to contest in an election, right to belong to a political party of one’s choice etc. It also deals with natural justice in law such as; the right of an accused to fair hearing and judgement in court, the right of an accused to remain alive until condemnation, the right to appeal against unfavourable judgement and many more. There are other classifications of human rights such as the social rights, economic rights, cultural rights and many more. The social rights deals with the rights of human beings to interact with one another e.g. right to freedom of assembly, freedom of movement etc. The economic rights deals with the rights of individuals to acquire and own property, the right to do business and make profit etc. The cultural rights freely allows individuals to practice their own way of life and enables them to freely represent their custom and tradition in the society. It’s just that the civil and political rights form the main part of human rights. They ensure ones entitlement to take part in the political and civil activities in the society without discrimination. And they help to protect the rights of people against encroachment from the government and private individuals.
Do human rights matter? I believe they do because they are essential for our survival as human beings. Imagine living in a world where we don’t have rights at all. I can’t even imagine such a scenario happening at all. I see them as those natural rights we were born with and that makes them a part of us. Human rights have been here right from time, but it took us longer to realise how important they were. How essential they were for our survival and existence. Human rights don’t just give us privileges as human beings; they give us dignity and help to improve our self esteem. They cannot be taken away as they belong to everybody and are internationally guaranteed.
In the past, there was no awareness about human rights. Then, only rich people benefitted from certain rights while the ordinary people didn’t enjoy any rights and had no form of protection against abuse. The rich could easily buy their way to get things that the ordinary people couldn’t get. They had the influence and the power, so much that special treatments were given to them. The ordinary ones where treated badly and had their rights abused and violated through ways like discrimination, police brutality, rape and many more. Over the years, through the struggle of people, the idea that everyone irrespective of class should have equal rights was actualized. Still, we are seeing the violation of these rights every single day. Yeah of course, the protection and awareness of these rights have improved over the years. It’s far better than the way it was a century ago but they are not fully protected yet. Recent events in the world are evidences of what I’m saying.
So why should we talk about it? We should talk about it because it is our duty to. Don’t just sit down and say ‘Well, it isn’t happening in my country. Why should I be worried’. One of the major roles of individuals in the UDHR (Universal declaration of human rights) is to advocate through the mass media to create awareness on human rights. The black lives matter protest shouldn’t just be for the U.S alone, the say no to rape protest shouldn’t just be for Nigeria alone. Protests around the world shouldn’t just be for a specific country alone. We are all affected by everthing that happens in the world. Therefore, we should make everything our concern. Advocacy through the print and electronic media can go a long way to create awareness on human rights. We shouldn’t just learn our rights and keep it to ourselves. Help others to know their own too. Don’t keep the knowledge to yourself alone. You must be ready to alert others when their rights are being violated. We should talk about human rights because, we are all humans and therefore, we should look out for one another. Always remember, united we stand, divided we fall.
I’ll pause here for today. In my next post on human rights, I’ll be talking on the limitations of human rights, what individuals face in the society that limits the proper exercise of their rights. While some of these limitations could be for their good, others could be for their bad. Feel free to throw in your opinions in the comment box. Till next time everyone★☆