Human Rights


Human rights

  • human rights are the basic rights and freedoms to which all human beings are entitled, they are applicable always and everywhere (which has signed the UDHR) and they protect everyone equally, without discrimination
  • the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 1948, contains 30 articles which define the various human rights. example include:
  • - no one shall be subjected to torture or cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • - no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile
  • not all human rights and freedoms set out in the UDHR have been adhered to uniformly throughout the world. violations have occurred at all scales in every continent including both advanced anddeveloping countries
  • geographical patterns of socio-economic inequality are closely associated with respect for human rights. many development programmes, incluidng the UN's Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 sustainable development goals are human rights led
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strategies for global governance of human rights

  • the work of NGO's, private organisations and human rights activists, including attempts to change norms
  • the influence of MNC's in meeting their corporate social responsibility
  • creation of new laws and attempts to strengthen the rule of law
  • the use of international legal mechanisms such as the international criminal court
  • ratification of treaties established by supra-national organisations
  • the work of various UN agencies
  • the role of the UN in its peace-keeping missions
  • military intervention and relief assistance
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human rights violations can cause conflict

often there is no single cause of conflict but a combination of contributory factors such as denial of basic human needs, discrimination and denial of freedom in undemocratic societies, lack of respect for ethnic identity

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how human rights are protected and promoted

strategies to promote and protect human rights are established by organisations which function at different scales, including:

  • Supra-national such as the UN
  • Regional such as ASEAN
  • National Governments
  • NGO's, often international in structure but also operational at local scale
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the United Nations

the UN is an inter-governmental organisation of 193 members states, each of which accepts the obligations of the UN charter. Human rights at its core. one of the main aims of the UN being to 'reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small'. the office of the UN high Commissioner for human rights is the lead agency, based in Geneva. the UN is a complex organisation. there are many UN bodies relating to specific human rights

the UN establishes peacekeeping missions, it may sanction military intervention and it coordinates the input of other organisations in areas of conflict

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Non-governmental organisations are part of civil society. their work within conflict zones with local communities is of utmost importance in resolving human rights issues. their role includes:

  • monitoring and providing early warning of new violence
  • modification of entrenched and restrictive norms of behaviour through education
  • training in particular skils such as agricultural practices and water coservation
  • provision of medicines, medical assistance and health education
  • supporting women and children's rights
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treaties and laws

treaties are formally written agreements between countries, often drawn up with the help of the UN, which are binding in international and national law. effective protection of human rights requires coordination of strategies and is based not only on the framework of treaties and international law but also on their practical application and reinforcement through education provided by the personnel of NGO's, the UN and other regional organisations such a ASEAN and NATO

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Afghanistan is a landlocked, largely mountainous country in Southwest Asia. it is a poor country and its development has been held back by a long period of political instability. athlough not recognised as a legitimate government, the Taliban were in control of 90% of the country before 2001. after that time, their fundamentalist government was overthrown by the USA and its allies. but resurgence of the Taliban, especially in the South, has led to continued violation of many human rights

According to the human rights watch, the period of insurgency has led to further decline in respect for human rights. They cite:

  • domestic violence towards women and continued inequality in access to employment, health services and education
  • kidnapping, detentions and torture
  • attacks on journalists and hence freedom of expression
  • the issue of food security partly fuelled by poppy cultivation, heroin production and the illicit drugs trade
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The UN in Afghanistan

the UN assistance missions of Afghanistan (UNAMA) was established by the security council in 2002 in order to help achieve sustainable peace and development. the UNAMA missions and the UN high commissioner for the Human rights are interacting with the Afghan government and NGO's to strengthen the work of the Afghanistan independent human rights commission. their aims are:

  • promote respect for international humanitarian and human rights laws
  • co-ordinate the efforts of all organisations and communities to ensure protection 
  • promote accountability
  • implement the freedoms and human rights provisions in the Afghan constitution and the treaties to which it is party
  • achieve full enjoyement of their rights, for women, displaced persons and returning refugees
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