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HUMAN RIGHTS AND AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Human rights are the basic rights of any individual regardless of the fact that the individual may belong to any religion, country, and background. Human rights are collective set of rights which an individual enjoys to live. These are rights that apply to all human beings. Human rights ensures that the dignity of an individual is protected, people are given respect within and in other societies. Human rights expresses the idea that all human beings should be treated equally and with justice and the moral values should be same and applied on all humans.
The Human rights are majorly categorized as religious, civil, political, social and economic rights.
- Civil rights comprises of rights which an individual enjoys as a citizen including right to life. It includes freedom to live, protecting people from discrimination as gender, religion, immigrant status, age etc. This includes the rights the state provides being a citizen.
- Political rights comprises of the right to vote, having the right to express and the right to political participation.
- Economic and social rights includes the basic rights an individual enjoys, promoting equality in society. It comprises of the right to proper education, right to a living in a safe environment, adequate housing and food, right to proper health facilities and right to social security. Economic rights includes the right to employment.
- Cultural rights constitute the right of a society linked to cultural freedom. The right to perform cultural practices, to speak one's own mother language and the right to rituals and indigenous land.
The protection of these rights are essential for the sustainability and survival of humanity. Human rights benefits people in ways that they can be protected from any social, legal and political violence. Violation in the human rights means to deny the basic rights of an individual. Violation of human rights lead to unbalanced society. Human rights are sheltered by national and international laws.
FIVE INTERNATIONAL CASES ON VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Throughout the course of human history, there have been many examples of violation of human rights. Some examples of violation of human right laws are given,
- The most tragic case of human rights violation took place in China where due to hukou household registration system, millions of rural migrants are denied basic facilities including education for children. This distinction is based on the place of residence which has categorized citizens to be eligible for certain socioeconomic benefits. This system limits the rural from some socioeconomic facilities as education, health facilities, and better sources of income which their urban dwellers enjoy.
- The failure of the Mexican military court system to provide justice in cases involving military abuses against civilians is a another examples of human rights violation. In many such incidents sliders detained civilians, held them captive, tortured and abused them and even applied electric shocks. No investigation are done on such cases and no action taken by military against the soldiers involved in such incidents despite medical proofs of tortures.
- Another example of human right violation is the forced evacuation of Roma Gypsy's by the Italian government. In a controversial plan, the Italian government is evacuating nomadic camps which will result in the destruction of 100 camps, leaving 1,000 people homeless resulting in violation of rights of these peoples.
- In one incident of Human right violation, Iraqi prisoners of war are held by Britain in legal black holes similar to US at Guantanamo Bay, without trial for more than five years. Two Iraqi's Faisal Attiyah Nassar al-Saadoon, 56, and Khalaf Hussain Mufdhi, 58 were accused of execution of British soldiers but both men denied any involvement in the fighting.
- Cases of detention of journalists and scholars in Iran, restricting their right of freedom of speech and academic freedom are sad examples of human rights violations. Two Iranain brothers and physicians Kamiar and Arash Alaei were charged for allegedly communicating with enemy governments because of their participation in global health conferences.
Amnesty international founded in London In 1961 aims at providing justice and rights to those who's rights have been violated. It aims at protecting the dignity of every individual belonging to any society, ethnicity, religion or country.
People worldwide face many problems which results in violation or in some cases complete denial of their basic human rights. Amnesty International works globally by collecting information on issues societies are facing and focuses on reducing the abuses to peoples through campaign locally and globally.
People in Amnesty International are involved in many activities worldwide ranging from helping free prisoners, stopping violence against women and children, settling disputes between nations, abolishing death penalties and to free people from the discrimination they face which results in violation of their basic rights. Amnesty International emphasizes the Governments to provide security to their citizens when they face a challenge or harsh condition.
MAJOR ROLES AND FUNCTIONS PERFORMED BY AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
The main function of Amnesty International is to record any kind of human right violation worldwide and work against it. Amnesty International stress that the Governments of every country should work to meet its responsibility to protect, respect and promote the human rights of every citizen.
Following are the major key areas on which Amnesty International works on,
- Ending Violence against women: People in Amnesty International are involved in campaigns, working against violence against women and girls worldwide. This includes ending all type of violence against women ranging from domestic violence and abuse, sexual abuse, torture and discrimination. Enforcement of laws on violence against women and abolishing laws on women discrimination. It also involves empowering women so that they can protect themselves from the discrimination and work as an active citizen.
- Stopping violence against Children: Worldwide children faces many abuses and are denied their basic human right. Children suffer many types of violence ranging from torture to death penalties. Amnesty International aims at protecting the rights of children worldwide providing them education and against imprisonment of children. It is also working towards reducing the discrimination of girl's education. Amnesty International works to end the employment of children into armed forces and to reintegrate former child soldiers back into civilian life.
- Abolish Death Penalty and torture: Amnesty International opposes the death penalties, regardless of the fact that what the crime is. Death penalty is an inhuman punishment and results in violation of right to live.
- Protecting Rights of Refugees, migrants and Internally displaced persons (IDPs) : Millions of people are forced to leave their homes and move to new areas as a result of war, poverty and natural disasters. These people move to other areas in their own country or to other countries in search of homes and better standard of living. Unfortunately they face many situation which results in violation of their basic human rights. As in case of Iraq where many people have migrated to other places as a result of war, Amnesty International is calling on US, UK and other developed countries for resettlement of these refugees who are in urgent need of shelter, food and medical care.
- Rights of Prisoners of Conscience : Amnesty International has been working for Prisoners of Conscience and has succeeded in helping in release of many such prisoners. Prisoners of Conscience are those prisoners who been imprisoned either because of lawful expression of their beliefs or are human rights defenders facing government intimidation, individuals at risk of execution, or those languishing in arbitrary detention.
- Protection of Human dignity: To protect human dignity is the main function of Amnesty International. Amnesty International focuses on promoting the respect of every individual belonging to any religion, country, gender or ethnicity. Protecting the moral values of every individual.
EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE FREED AFTER INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE
There are many success stories of release of prisoners after international pressure. Such stories area great hope for the human rights activists. Following are some of the success stories,
- In 1998, two OCESP members, Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera were arrested by military and were tortured to confess to arms and drugs-related crimes. Amnesty International took up their case and found that they were found guilty on basis of false evidence. National and international pressure in the case forced President Vicente Fox to order their release from prison in 2001.
- On 16th September 2005, Felipe Arreaga Sánchez, environmental activist, founder of the Peasant Environmentalist Organization of the Sierra de Petatlán was released after international pressure. He was arrested in November 2004, accused of a murder that took place in 1998.
- In February 2009, Ayman Nour was unpredictably released from prison after four years due to International pressure. He was a prominent political dissident and a one-time presidential candidate.
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION IN DEVELOPED AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Though there have been records of cases and incidents in developed countries but the rate of human rights violence is higher in developing countries as compared to developed countries due to many reasons. In developed countries institutions are strong and corruption rate is low. In developing countries freedom of speech and human rights is not well appreciated. In some societies major rights are not even considered as human rights in the first place. Due to lack of resources, unequal distribution of resources, injustice, unemployment and increase in violence the rate of human rights violation is increasing. The increase in war on terrorism is also resulting in human rights violations. War its self creates disturbance, depriving people of basic rights, where fear, mistrust and violence increases in societies.
The main reasons resulting in violation of Human Rights in developing countries are,
- Discrimination on the basis of ethnicity and casts systems: The discrimination done on basis of cast system, ethnicity, family background results in human rights violation. For example as in India the cast system which has divided the Hindu's into different casts, restricts them from adopting a better standard of living. People who belong to lower classes do not have the right to eat and sit between people belonging to high casts.
- Democratic and institutional weakness: One reason for violation in civil and political rights is because of bad governance, democratic and institutional weakness in developing countries. Power exists in the hands of few people or in hands of those awarded through heredity. People are not given right to vote; right to choose the kind of life they want to live.
- Economic instability, Lack of resources and unequal distribution of resources: Economic instability is major factor in failure of certain developing countries in human rights violations. These societies do not have the means to facilitate their citizens with basic social and economical rights. Another reason for human rights violation in developing countries is the lack of resources. Inefficiency in allocation of resources such as food and health facilities, housing and other results in violence in society. In this way people are forced to live in bad situations. Unequal distribution of resources creates differences in society where large differences are created between rich and poor.
- In many societies a number of human rights violations are accepted culturally. There are certain practices taking place in these societies which are not considered as violation of human rights. In fact these practices have been part of the culture of the area for such a long time that these practices have become traditions. No one looks at it as violation of human rights. Such as in some societies of the developing countries women's are not given right to vote, girls are denied right to education and practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) have become traditions in these societies.
- Corruption and violence is a major contributing factor in violation of human rights in developing countries. Major threats of human rights faced by these nations is the result of corruption. Violence created as a result of the above factors are depriving humans of their basic needs and resulting in violation their basic rights.
ASPECTS OF POVERTY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Poverty is condition in which an individual, a family or society is deprived from basic economic necessities required for living. Poverty leads to human rights violation. A poor person faces many types of abuses, stress and difficulties. When an individual does not have the right to proper standard of living, proper food, proper health facilities, education, to adequate housing and income, results in violation of human rights. Most of the various aspects of poverty can be considered as the denials of one's right to a decent living. Poverty leads to bad standard of living.
Everyone has the right to live a life in which all basic facilities are available. Some aspects of poverty and human rights are given below,
- Poverty and Child labor: In developing countries the ratio of child labor is very high due to the fact that in these countries as there is economic instability, discrimination and poverty, families of poor people have to work very hard to earn and compete for a proper living. In such societies children work along with their parents due to which the child gets no education due to which the ration of child labor has increased in the past few years in developing countries.
- Poverty and Women rights: Over one million people around the world are living a life of poverty and majority of them are females. Poverty results in discrimination in women rights in many ways. It results in limitation of a women's access to power, education, health facilities, job etc. In some cases it has been seen as there is increase in poverty, the female of the house would limit everything and focus on her family so as to meet their needs. This way the female neglects her own basic rights just for the sake of her family. Increase in domestic and sexual violence is a major factor resulting in women poverty.
- Poor societies face much discrimination: Poor societies are treated unfairly which is a major barrier to achieving their human rights. Poor people do not have access to many facilities. In some societies ethnic background and racism leads to poverty. As example of India is coated earlier where due to cast system people face discrimination whereby human rights of an individual or community is violated or completely denied. When people do not have the basic necessities and live a life of poverty, it results in imbalance in society, creating violence and an unsustainable society. Poor communities do not participate in decision making which leads to bad policy making.
- Violence and poverty: Violence in poor communities is caused as a result of poverty. When people are denied their basic rights (right to food, adequate living, health facilities, employment and freedom), they adopt certain methods which results in violence in society. Discrimination between poor and rich in providing jobs and education creates frustration which results in violence leading to violation of human rights.
- Poverty leads to unsustainable living: When individuals in a society or country are not given the basic rights of living leads to an unsustainable living.
ASPECTS OF TERRORISM AND SECURITY ASPECTS OF HUMAN RIGHTS
The increase in conflicts with nations and the religious conflicts has initiated the increase and deterioration of human rights globally.
- Migration: Increase in war on terrorism has resulted in migration of thousands of people within their own countries or to other countries. People leave their homes and property in search of a peaceful place to live. First their right to live is deteriorated and secondly the area they migrate to is totally new to them. These people face many problems. They live in tents no matter how harsh the climatic conditions are, they are treated as strangers in the new place, have difficulty in getting employment and are treated as violence creators. There are many examples of such incidents; the recent is the Roma Gypsy's from Italy.
- Increase in prisoners and abductions: Terrorism has increased the abduction of people to places where human rights are totally violated. Disappearance and detention of prisoners and keeping them in jails without trail or fair trial. Human abuse is increasing with the increase in establishment of detention cells and camps like Guantanamo Bay and increase in handing of suspects to be engaged in terrorist activities. Up till now no one knows how many detention cells or camps are present and up till now due to this so called war on terrorism, how many individuals including men, women and children have been detained or killed.
- Security is the basic right of every citizen of a country, which is the duty of the Government and other local agencies. But unfortunately Governments have adopted such methods to control terrorism as torture, which are resulting in increase in insecurity of citizens. Killing and incidents of abuse, rape, kidnapping, robbery increases.
- Terrorism creates an environment of distrust, violence, affects human security and dignity, destroys democratic setup of society, creates fear in society, negatively affects the social and economical development of the country, results in violation of human rights and threatens the security of the state.
- One aspect of increase in terrorism and insecurity affecting the human rights is the destruction and disturbance these activities cause. These activities causes mass destruction of public, private and personal buildings. It creates fear in society. The daily routine lives of citizens is badly affected. As in the case of suicide attacks in any country or such acts results in violation of human rights. People do not feel safe and decrease their outdoor activities. Damage to property, shop, office or factory decreases the labor of an individual thus affecting the livelihood and income in an already economically instable country.