Where are Human Rights at 67? Are things getting worse?

67 years have passed since the inception of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, when the world had enough from the horrible effects of WWI and WWII and wanted to move forward with peace and respect for human rights among nations. [i]

The Amnesty International annual report for 2014/2015 shows the opposite. There are fewer wars, yet human beings suffer even more from natural disasters such as floods, hunger and many other catastrophes which are the result of human activities. [ii] It is surprising that while the world has made so many advances with technologies and knowledge of Human Rights, yet horrible things continue to happen such as attacks on and killing of civilians in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere. [iii]

Students in Thailand are jailed for expressing themselves towards an undemocratic government system. [iv] In Tanzania, people with albinism are being targeted and killed for witchcraft, seeking a refugee status in neighboring country to save their own lives because the government has failed to protect them. [v] How about the plight of migrant workers in Qatar, Hong Kong and elsewhere, being tortured and treated inhumanly just because they lack legal documents to prove their human hood and dignity hence are treated like objects? [vi] How about the students who disappeared in Mexico with no effort from the government to find their whereabouts or hold accountable those suspected? No country is developed until it has educated and healthy people who can make change to their lives and the country at large. How can countries such as Mexico develop when they kidnap and kill their own people who try to pursue education?[vii]

The Tanzanian Marriage Act of 1971 allows a girl to be married at the age of 15 by the consent of her parents, unlike men, who need to be 18 years to marry by law. Should parents be allowed to give consent for their daughters to marry? Does this not reinforce the exploitative custom of dowry in African families? It’s unimaginable in the 21st Century that there is not equal agreement between partners, but those with authority decide even on issues of intimacy.

If Tanzania was way better off 50 years ago than it is today, what happened during that time that changed it so much for the worse? It has been fifty-three years since Tanganyika got its independence on 9th of December 1961, and the country is almost regressing. In 1967, £ 1 was worth Tsh. 16.6. Today, 1 £ is currently worth Tsh. 2550+. This is bad news for the economy. (See ‘The state of AFRICA’ by Martin Meredith)

The UN Security Council exists to safeguard world peace today, yet it happens that they usually make the decision to help too late. There are many examples to prove this such as the current situation in Syria. The UNSC is formed by five superpowers whose interests come first, even before humanitarian reasons. It would be better if there was a rotation of the countries forming UNSC to realize some positive changes.

When will nations appreciate the UDHR and start fully protecting human rights for all? Is the 1993 Vienna Declaration for Human Rights seeking human rights for all are still our one and only goal?

 

About Ashura Kayupayupa

Ashura Kayupayupa is a human rights activist, lawyer, and the Social Media Manager at UHRSN. She is currently enrolled in the University of Vienna's MA in Human Rights.

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