Human rights


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Human rights

  1. 1. Escola Secundária c/ 3º ciclo do ensino básico da Sé da Guarda<br />Ano lectivo 2010/2011<br />Inglês<br />Module 2<br />Citizenship and multiculturalism<br />In defense of human rights<br />Trabalho realizado por:<br />Carolina Cabaços nº 4<br />Daniel Santos nº 5<br />Helena Martins nº 10<br />Index<br />Introduction ……………………………………………. 3<br />The Universal Declaration of the Human Rights<br />The birth of the declaration …………………... 4<br />Its importance for the humanity ……………… 6<br />The Declaration of the Rights of the Child …………..7 <br />A stolen childhood<br />A poem ………………………………………… 11<br />True stories of suffering ……………………… 12<br />Introduction<br />When the sun rises, it’s for everyone. All people have the right to see its light, to feel its heat, to enjoy its beauty. Or at least, they should. <br />When we go from the utopia of a world of equality to a completely different reality, we realize that there are lots of issues which must be solved quickly in order to create a better world. <br />In the history of the humanity there were quite a few people who struggled for the achievement of this goal. We honor them and thank them for what they’ve done. However, those people, whose courage is without any doubt an inspiration to all of us, couldn’t make it by their own. Thanks to the people who stood up for them, it was possible to sign some important documents and declarations, which have changed the world. <br />Among those, we find the Universal Declaration of the human rights, which define the rights that belong to us simply because we’re human beings, such as justice, dignity, respect and freedom. <br />As we were told to write a few pages about the theme “human rights”, we realized there was a lot to say, much more than most people imagine. So, we had to choose a single topic and we went for the rights of the children. Our decision was mainly based on our knowledge about all children who don’t have conditions to live a normal childhood – or our lack of it. <br />Therefore, in this work we’re going to start by talking about the historical context behind the signature of the Declaration of the human rights, then we’ll talk specifically about the rights of the children. At last, we pretend to show real cases of bad treated children, in order to accentuate how horrible this problem is. <br />The Universal Declaration of the human rights<br />The birth <br />The ideas and values of human rights can be traced through history to ancient times and in religious beliefs and cultures around the world. The first recorded declaration of human rights in history is the Cyrus cylinder, written by Cyrus the Great, king of Persia (present day Iran) around the year 539 BCE. European philosophers of the enlightenment period developed theories of natural law that influenced the adoption of documents such as the Bill of Rights of England, the Bill of Rights in the United States, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in France.<br />During the Second World War the allies adopted the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom from fear and freedom from want, as their basic war aims. The United Nations Charter "reaffirmed faith in fundamental human rights, and dignity and worth of the human person" and committed all member states to promote "universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion"<br />When the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany became apparent after the Second World War, the consensus within the world community was that the United Nations Charter did not sufficiently define the rights it referenced.[4][5] A universal declaration that specified the rights of individuals was necessary to give effect to the Charter's provisions on human rights. <br />The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris). The Guinness Book of Records describes the UDHR as the "Most Translated Document" in the world. The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. It consists of 30 articles which have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions and laws. The International Bill of Human Rights consists of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols. In 1966 the General Assembly adopted the two detailed Covenants, which complete the International Bill of Human Rights; and in 1976, after the Covenants had been ratified by a sufficient number of individual nations, the Bill took on the force of international law.<br />Its importance for the humanity<br />When we look around we see a world full of wonderful things, most of which we take for granted, and that’s simply because our time is too scarce to be spent with a small retrospective at all the history behind all these marvelous things. And we’re not only talking about science or technology or those material things which make our lives easier and more comfortable – we’re trying to tell you about freedom, justice, equality, democracy, rights. No one ever thinks about that, but I’m pretty sure it would be difficult for everyone to abdicate of their right to express their opinion, or any other fundamental right. <br />In fact (and now putting aside all those racist and discriminative people who can’t stand living in a world where they’re not superior), a white man and a black man sitting together in a pub, talking as two individuals seen as equal on the eyes of society is something we can enjoy, something that’s perfectly common, but also a proof that our world is not such a bad place to live in. However, this wasn’t always like this. An idea like that would be more than enough to start a revolution only some decades ago! How ridiculous is that? <br />Well, maybe it’s not that ridiculous… We just have to see that through the eyes of someone who lived back in those days. We must also always have in mind such names as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and if we start thinking of other problems besides discrimination against black people, there will be a lot more: Abraham Lincoln, Dalai Lama, etc. <br />Furthermore, the most important mark in the history of human rights, the one thing we must always remember as the starting point from which all of this evolved is the Universal Declaration of the human rights: a simple yet unique document which has changed the world. <br />All humanity must be grateful to the ones who signed this important document, and realize that behind each caring smile, gently blowing a fresh breath of liberty, leys a living soul put under one of thousands of pearls into the treasure we call History. <br />The declaration of the rights of the child<br />During an United Nations General Assembly, on the 20th November 1959, was approved the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. This declaration was an adaptation of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights but focused on the children. <br />The universal declaration of the human rights was written after a very dark period of our world history: the Second World War. This declaration was written with one thing in mind: freedom, justice and world peace will only be possible if every single human being has the same rights. If our world is separated by different rules for different people, if we do not look at each other as equals, these goals, these dreams will never be achieved. <br />For us to be equal is not enough to just have the right to live. We have to have other rights. We need to live a dignifying life, without any kind of oppression; we need to have access to things that will assure our health, our well-being and things that will enable us to develop our capabilities.<br />These principles and moral values were the base of the elaboration of some documents that later were the seed of the declaration of the rights of the child. <br />The key sentence in these documents is “the best interest of the child” – with this idea in mind, the rights were written. This means that a child needs a special protection and that all actions involving the child must be to improve her life. The universal declaration of the rights of the child brought a special status to the children – they are no longer the same as their parents or family, they need special care and their needs are more important than anything else. <br />This new view of the child as a special human being with special rights, equal in dignity and respect as every other adult but with some other needs was determinant to the articles that were included in the declaration of the rights of the child. The children do not have the capability to survive by themselves. That’s why it was imperative to this declaration to be written and that’s why we need to respect these “rules”, these “laws” because every child deserves to grow up happily and with dignity so that one day they can be better adults. <br />Unfortunately, these rights are not always respected. There are children that are obligated to work, sometimes without even getting paid, there are some that are sold by their own parents like they are not a person with rights but objects in the hands of the parents waiting to be given away… how can we, in the XXI century, allow this to happen? We have to open our minds and see beyond our happy life and fight against these horrible things. <br /> <br />Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959)<br />Preamble<br />Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have, in the Charter, reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person, and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,<br />Whereas the United Nations has, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,<br />Whereas the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth,<br />Whereas the need for such special safeguards has been stated in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924, and recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the statutes of specialized agencies and international organizations concerned with the welfare of children,<br />Whereas mankind owes to the child the best it has to give,<br />Now therefore,<br />The General Assembly<br />Proclaims this Declaration of the Rights of the Child to the end that he may have a happy childhood and enjoy for his own good and for the good of society the rights and freedoms herein set forth, and calls upon parents, upon men and women as individuals, and upon voluntary organizations, local authorities and national Governments to recognize these rights and strive for their observance by legislative and other measures progressively taken in accordance with the following principles:<br />Principle 1<br />The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration. Every child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.<br />Principle 2<br />The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.<br />Principle 3<br />The child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.<br />Principle 4<br />The child shall enjoy the benefits of social security. He shall be entitled to grow and develop in health; to this end, special care and protection shall be provided both to him and to his mother, including adequate pre-natal and post-natal care. The child shall have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services.<br />Principle 5<br />The child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education and care required by his particular condition.<br />Principle 6<br />The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and, in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security; a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother. Society and the public authorities shall have the duty to extend particular care to children without a family and to those without adequate means of support. Payment of State and other assistance towards the maintenance of children of large families is desirable.<br />Principle 7<br />The child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages. He shall be given an education which will promote his general culture and enable him, on a basis of equal opportunity, to develop his abilities, his individual judgement, and his sense of moral and social responsibility, and to become a useful member of society. The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with his parents. The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which should be directed to the same purposes as education; society and the public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of this right.<br />Principle 8<br />The child shall in all circumstances be among the first to receive protection and relief.<br />Principle 9<br />The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form. The child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall in no case becaused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.<br />Principle 10<br />The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.<br /> <br />A stolen childhood<br />The girl in a blue dress goes walking along the street<br />Doesn’t know where to go, or how to reach the sky<br />Yet she looks at it with a smile that’s so sweet<br />Thinking “I bet Heaven wears a dress like mine”<br />Foot by foot, each step leads to nowhere<br />‘Cause the world’s so big and home is death <br />Mamma’s doing the dishes while pretending to care<br />That her little girl left her doll on the bed <br />Feet start bleeding as her soul does too<br />She looks at a bench but she speeds up the pace<br />Looking at a nice man saying “How are you”<br />‘Cause every nice men have old daddy’s face… <br />Up next we present some real testimonies of bad treated children, in order to show you that this problem is nothing but a nightmare come true. <br />“A man was convicted of molesting a mentally challenged 8 year old child. The court sentenced the man to probation. A Civil Protection Order (CPO) was granted; however the offender violated the CPO numerous times by walking up to the fence of the child’s backyard, shaking the fence and making crude comments and gestures while the child was playing. In addition, he would park in front of the child’s home monitoring the family’s comings and goings again taking every opportunity to intimidate the child and mother. The victim’s mother had contacted the sheriff’s office numerous times to report the violations and law enforcement refused to take any action. They told the mother that she must hire an attorney to enforce the CPO.”<br />“A case involving a 10 year old child rape victim was postponed 18 times primarily by defense and a couple times by the state over a three year period. The emotional strain of preparing for the trial every couple months over the three year period only to be met with more continuances diminished the impact of counseling services and had taken its toll on the child and parents. At 10 years old she was a sociable active straight A student; now 13 she was struggling to maintain C & D grades, dropped out of all sports activities, missed a considerable amount of school, and had become withdrawn and isolated. The child’s parents were denied the right to be present during proceedings and victims objections to the numerous continuances were never presented by the prosecutor to the court as statutorily required. The case had just been continued again for three months later and the parents, feeling there was no end in sight and wanting for their child to begin her healing and recovery, were considering requesting the charges be dropped.“<br />These are only two among millions of examples of cases which exemplify various situations of disrespect towards children’s rights. <br />Unfortunately, this is an inconvenient truth, a reality which we close our eyes to. In the world we idealize, there are no victims of child abuse, no children being explored or working as slaves, no cute little faces wet by tears of sadness and pain. <br />Therefore, we have to do everything we can to preserve children’s rights. Children are our future, so they deserve to be respected, to live a normal childhood that allows them to grow up and become physical and mentally healthy adults – and active members in our society. <br />