1. Escola Secundária c/ 3º CEB da Sé – Guarda English Andreia Oliveira Nº1 Deidre Meursing Nº8 Tiago Vilão Nº19 12th B Teacher: Fátima Amaral School Year 2010/2011
2. INDEXIntroduction....................................................................................1Human Rights.................................................................................2Back to Basics................................................................................4Nelson Mandela………………………………………………….6Conclusion…………………………………………………….....8Biography………………………………………………………..9
3. INtroDuctIoN Since the beginning of the second term, we have been discussing the importanceof the Human Rights. It is known that they have been evolving along with the humanneeds, affecting the daily life of people in so many different situations, although it doesnot interfere with their lives by the same way. There are still many people who are noteven aware of the rights they could claim, just because they are. We can compare the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights tothe landing on the moon, a small step for a human being, but a giant step for Humanity.As we consider this document a very important piece, we will mention its creation andwhat it provoked during the past decades. We will also be focusing on the morefundamental rights like women, children and labour’s rights, which, unfortunately, arenot that well respected in so many places throughout the world. To enrich our research we will choose an icon for the Human Rights. As wethink of Nelson Mandela as one of the most propelling people for the fight against theviolation of the Human Rights, we will speak about his life and his struggle againstapartheid in South-Africa.
4. HumaN rIgHts The Human Rights didn’t emerge out of nowhere. The fundamentals can befound through history, in religious beliefs and cultures all over the world. The firstdeclaration, comparable to the UDHR, is the Cyrus Cylinder, written in 539 B.C., byCyrus the Great, king of Persia. After the Second World War the world needed to re-establish, and there were somany significant differences between people and their conditions, that something had tobe done. By these days the allies agreed about the freedom of speech, freedom ofassembly, freedom from fear and freedom from want. As soon as the cruelties done byGermany became clear the world community realised that the United Nations Charterwas not sufficient. Therefore a new document, which specified all individual rights, hadto be formed to the acceptance of all nations. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by theUnited Nations General Assembly on the 10th December in 1948 at the Palais deChaillot, Paris. At first it consisted of 30 inherent articles to international treaties,regional human rights associations, national constitutions and laws. In 1966 twodetailed Covenants were adopted by the General Assembly, they completed theInternational Bill of Human Rights. In 1976 these Covenants took on the force ofinternational law, because it had been ratified by a large number of individual nations. Most of the work to form to form the UDHR was done by John PetersHumphrey who was called upon by the United Nations Secretary-General. Humphreywas working as Director of the Division of Human Rights by the United NationsSecretariat. Initiating with an International Bill of Rights, the Commission on HumanRights, an instrument of the United Nations, was constituted to undertake the work. TheCommission was formed by members such as Australia, Belgium, Byelorussian SovietSocialist Republic, Chile, China, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Lebanon, Panama,Philippines, United Kingdom, United States of America, Union of Soviet SocialistRepublics, Uruguay and Yugoslavia. The Commission included well-known memberslike Eleanor Roosevelt(USA), Chairman, Jacques Maritain and René Cassin(FR),Charles Malik(Lebanon) and P.C. Chang(China).
5. Finally on 10 December 1948 the UDHR was accepted and adopted by theGeneral Assembly by a vote of 48 in favour, 0 against and 8 abstentions(all Soviet Blocstates, South Africa and Saudi Arabia. The following countries voted in favour of the Declaration:Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Chile,China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador,Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, India, Iran,Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand,Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Thailand, Sweden,Syria, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela. Despite the central role played by Canadian John Humphrey, the CanadianGovernment at first abstained from voting on the Declarations draft, but later voted infavour of the final draft in the General Assembly.
6. Back to BasIcs The UDHR issues a large number of rights with uncountable backgrounds,therefore we will be discussing the more basic ones. Starting with the rights of children and youngsters, we have to realise that theway we live here, in Western-Europe, is not at all, compared to the rest of the world, theaverage. Many children, in for example Third World countries, do not have access toclean water, hygiene or time to themselves, not to mention access to education. Manychildren have to go and work to earn money to supply their families and keep themalive. This drowses against all children’s rights, as they have the right to a standard ofliving adequate for a child’s intellectual, physical, moral and spiritual development,including adequate food, shelter and clothing. These rights are just basic human rights,such as the right to freedom of discrimination based on gender, race, colour, language,religion, nationality, ethnicity, or any other status, or on the status of the child’s parents.And this last part, the right to freedom of discrimination based on the status of thechild’s parent, is already more specific. The Human Rights belong to all human beings,therefore including children and young people. But young people also enjoy certainhuman rights specifically linked to their status as under-aged and their need for specialcare and protection. A good example is the right of the child to live in a familyenvironment. States should provide families with assistance and support if necessary formeeting the fundamental needs of the child. Another very well known children’s right,is the right to education – to free and compulsory education, to readily available formsof secondary and higher education, and to the freedom from all types of discriminationat all levels of education. Other, not less important, rights are the women’s rights. Although women are, inFirst World countries, accepted as equal to men within public treaties and legalprocedures, they are still understated by large numbers in other parts of the world.Millions of women live in conditions of direct deprivation of, or attack against, theirfundamental rights with as single motive their being women. Abuses against them arerelentless, systematic and tolerated, if not silenced. Many bodies, associations andfoundations have been set up for the protection of women’s rights. They provide shelterfor those who have fled their homes, register cases of rape, domestic violence,trafficking of women, female genital mutilation, and so on, and they are committed tovoicing a worldwide call for justice and equality for women. Other concerns of theirs
7. are reproductive rights and equal access to economic opportunity and politicalparticipation. As the Human Rights are meant for all human beings, they includechildren and women. Children’s and women’s right over lapse each other in when a girlor young woman is denied higher education, a situation much more common than denialof education to children in general. Even in our western society girls are brought upwith the idea that secondary or higher education is not part of their future. Theirconcerns should be finding a good husband, having a lot of children and a neat house. Labour rights do not appear in the news every now and then, but they form theroots of a healthy working situation. Labour rights are used with negotiation of workers’wages, benefits and safe conditions. They are based on, for example, the working termsand the relation between workers and their employees. The most basic right withinlabour rights, is the right to unionise. Unions make use of collective negotiating andindustrial actions to realise the raise of the wages or other concerns. “When Adamdelved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?” is a famous quote by John Ball,one of the leaders of the Peasants’ Revolt, a foundation which defended the labourrights in the Middle Age. For example, they fought against the enclosure movement,which took traditionally communal land and made them private. A new law wasaccepted in 1833 which stated that children under the age of 9 could not work, between9 and 13 only 8 hours a day and between 14 and 18 not more than 12 hours a day. In1919 the International Labour Organisation was formed, which later became part of theUnited Nations, causing the addition of two articles to the UDHR. These read thateveryone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to fair and reasonableconditions of work and to protect against unemployment. The right to equal pay forequal work, without any discrimination. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure,including reasonable limitation of work hours and periodic holidays with pay. Allhuman rights are linked to each other. As children have the right to education, thisoverlaps with the right against discrimination of girls who are not allowed to go toschool just because of their sex. Labour rights have, for example, put an end to childlabour, overlapping the children’s rights.
8. NElsoN rolIHlaHla maNDEla Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, also known as uTata Madiba in South Africa, wasborn on the 18th July 1918, in Mvezo, a small village in the district of Umtata. Mandelasfather, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, served as chief of the town of Mvezo. Gadla hadfour wives, with whom he fathered thirteen children. Nelson Mandela was born to histhird wife, Nosekeni Fanny. Rolihlahla became the first member of his family to attenda school, where his teacher gave him the English name Nelson. He completed his JuniorCertificate in two years instead of the usual three and he began to study for a Bachelorof Arts at the Fort Hare University. Mandela worked as a guard at a mine, as an articledclerk at a Johannesburg law firm and meanwhile he completed his B.A. degree at theUniversity of South Africa via correspondence. He was mainly an anti-apartheid activistand the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed department of the African NationalCongress (ANC). He coordinated sabotage campaigns against military and governmenttargets, making plans for a possible civil war if the sabotage to end apartheid failed,even though he was against violence. In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotageand other charges and he was sentenced to 27 years life in prison, on Robben Island,where he studied for a Bachelor of Laws from the University of London ExternalProgramme. While in jail, his reputation grew and he became widely known as the mostsignificant black leader in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was finally released on the11th Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990. On that day, he made aspeech to the nation. He declared his commitment to peace and reconciliation, but madeclear that the ANCs armed struggle was not yet over. Before his election, the first fully democratic multi-racial elections, Mandela ledhis party in negotiations that improved multi-racial democracy in 1994, year of hiselection. As President, from May 1994 until June 1999, Mandela presided over thetransition from minority rule and apartheid, winning international respect for hisencouragement for national and international reconciliation. Mandela encouraged blackSouth Africans to get behind the previously hated Springboks (the South Africannational rugby team) as South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup (Story of thefilm Invictus, recently made.) After the Springboks won an epic final over NewZealand, Mandela presented the trophy to the captain, Francois Pienaar, an Afrikaner,
9. wearing a Springbok shirt with Pienaars own number 6 on the back. This was widelyseen as a major step in the reconciliation of white and black South Africans. After his retirement as President, Mandela became an advocate for a variety ofsocial and human rights organizations, mainly for SOS Childrens Villages, the worldslargest organization dedicated to raising orphaned and abandoned children. Mandela has received more than 250 South African and international awardsover four decades, but the most significant was the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Manyartists have dedicated songs to Mandela and there are many published biographies abouthis life. Nelson Mandela’s work was so important that the 18 th July was adopted as hisday, by the United Nations. In order to honor him, individuals, communities andorganizations are asked to donate 67 minutes to do something for others,commemorating the 67 years that Nelson Mandela gave to the struggle for socialjustice. During Mandela’s lifetime he has dedicated himself to the struggle of Africanpeople, fighting against white domination and also against black domination. He hasloved the idea of a democratic and free society in which everyone can live peacefullyand equally. That is what he still wants to achieve and like he said before ‘it is an idealfor which I am prepared to die’. That is the reason why Nelson Mandela differs from somany other people who dreamt about different conditions and rights. He refused to limithis action to dreams and hopes, he acted! Mandela knew that he was able to make thedifference, and he did it!
10. coNclusIoNAs we were able to see with this work realization, the theme Human Rights is a verycomplex one. Nowadays, in developing countries, like Portugal, people are used to havetheir basic rights for granted, they do not even think about their practical impact. Peoplejust know they exist and that no one can violate them, just because they are humanbeings. In our opinion, one of the best examples of this fact is the women’s rightssituation. Today, every woman born in a developed country is able to vote, to wearwhatever she wants, to express herself, to get married freely as well as to get divorced,to go to school, to have a career…Although it was not always like that! The worldneeded someone like Florence Thomas, wanting to change, to step forward,. What wefrequently forget is that though our situation is different, there are still many otherwomen all over the world whose education is completely interdict, who are not allowedto choose their husband and who are sold like simple sexual objects. Human Rights are no longer a matter of black and white people’s rights. As oureconomic, social and cultural level is increasing, also our rights and needs are changing,but we cannot forget about people who had the misfortune of being born in a countrywhere the right to have a retirement is similar to our chance to go to the moon, a mirage. The world needs more Nelson Mandelas, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther Kings, inshort, people aiming for a greater awareness of the abuse of the human rights. Going toschool, playing with our friends, making choices of our own, etc., all these are verynormal actions for the three of us. Still, there are many different realities among peopleour age throughout the world. What are we waiting for? Let us make the difference.