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Is The International Community Making Effective Progress In Securing Global Human Rights?

The international community advocates and supports human rights, but has it always been effective? Throughout history, attempted efforts have been made to address these violations to protect citizens' rights. In today’s society, it’s claimed that we are all entitled to the same rights because we are all equal. Unfortunately, numerous nations around the globe face grave human rights abuse—including oppression, discrimination, and corruption—and long for the opportunity of justice. Due to oppressive regimes instilled by the government, it caused nations to become oppressed by laws are violating freedom of speech, access to basic necessities, numerous labor laws, and equality based on religion, sexual orientation, gender, and race. 

The foundation of human rights was established in 1945 by the United Nations, which has united world leaders in order to codify human rights in universally recognized regime of treaties, institutions and norms. Through the ratification of human rights law, the government is striving to promote human rights domestically and abroad. According to Council on Foreign Relation: The Global Human Rights Regime  “ Major regional organizations in the Western Hemisphere, Europe, and Africa--such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union (EU) , and the African Union (AU)  have integrated human rights into their mandate and established courts to which citizens can appeal if a nation violates their rights”, these organizations have committed to ensuring the obligation and duties under international laws to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights. However, countries’ leaders such as Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, President Al- Sisi of Egypt, and Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud have instilled fear amongst citizens practicing their rights to protest and freedom of expression causing public places to become areas of polarization and contestation between human rights group and oppressive leaders. Moreover, there has been no progress being made on these different issues, as many of these impoverished nations' governments act against them.

The daily discriminatory violence against women is denied the attention or concern of international organizations, national governments, traditional human rights groups, and the press. Millions of women and girls around the globe are forced to face debilitating and often fatal human rights abuse. Violations toward women are often gendered base. According to The United Nations Declaration on Violence Against Women gender-based violation is “ any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. Many women and girls around the world are trapped in forced child marriages, stuck in labor trafficking and suffer unfortunate deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth: enabling women from making deeply personal choices in their private lives.

According to Amnesty International Report 2012: The State of the World’s Human Rights, “Violations of women’s and girl’s sexual and reproductive rights remained rife, with appalling consequences for their lives and health. Chile, El Salvador, and Nicaragua continued to ban abortion in all circumstances, including for girls and women pregnant as a result of rape or who experience life-threatening complications in their pregnancies.” Women are  forced to go into alleyways with incompetent practitioners to perform the dangerous procedure for a high fee; in addition, many women attempt to perform abortions themselves, causing countless lives to be lost from complications that could’ve been solved through the right laws. Though this is not a common practice today, several women are forced to use these practices in countries that don’t allow legalized abortions. The same fate has fallen to women in the United States, as some states has made abortion illegal, forcing women to travel to other states if they want the procedure done. Despite the prohibition of international law regarding child-marriage, it still remains a pervasive abnormality. In Saudi Arabia, at a young age girls are forced into marriage from seven to eight years old girls, in cases some girls are marrying men five times their age due to the lack of a minimum legal age set in place.

In Saudi Arabia women’s rights are severely restricted, women are not allowed to make decisions without a man’s permission, causing them to accomplish daily tasks with difficulty, obtaining a job, driving or car, and unable to obtain a passport to travel. Saudi Arabian activists who focus on the strides to human rights being improved are continually arrested for protesting against the government's rule due to the discriminatory laws being placed. According to Human Rights Watch, Saudi Authorities have detained seven prominent human rights defenders since May of 2018 for speaking out against the Male Guardian System, and the ban on women driving. Women rights violations demonstrate how the governments in various countries want their abuse to remain unaddressed. The Saudi Arabian government continuously defends its law and regulation while still violating human rights. 

           Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, enabling the right to speak your mind freely on important issues and has played a vital role in the healthy development of a society. The right to freedom of expression is crucial in a democracy; information and ideas help inform political debate and are essential to public accountability and transparency in the government. Nonetheless, many world leaders deny this power to citizens. Countries such as Russia and Egypt deal with the detrimental effect of their voices not being heard. These countries have cases of arbitrary arrests, unlawful killings, and enforced disappearances.Many human rights defenders around the world put their lives on the line to challenge dictators and oppressive regimes. Human rights defenders face all kinds of risks from campaigns of intimidation and misinformation to fabricated criminal charges, forced disappearance, imprisonment, torture and murder. According to the Amnesty International Report 2012: The State of the World’s Human Rights, “Human rights defenders and journalists were harassed, intimidated, and beaten for exposing abusers. Anti-government demonstrators were frequently banned and their organizers and participants subjected to short periods of detention or fined.” An example of this circumstance is human rights activist and Egyptian lawyer Ibrahim Metwaly Hegazy, the founder of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared, who was hired to investigate the enforced disappearance. On his way to his meeting, he was captured and detained by Egyptian government officials and sent to a max security prison where he was released after several months. This indicates how the abuse of power within the government continues to defend its laws and regulation while their misconduct still remains unaddressed as well as the strength of human rights activists who still have the courage to raise their voice regardless of the risk they face. 

     Over time international human rights laws continue to grow and evolve including laws implementing that all rights are inherent to all human beings, “regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more” according to the United Nations. Several organizations have become more focused and specialized in making treaties to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups. In a few nations, strides have been taken to address the human rights violation implemented by the government. According to the article Amnesty International Report 2012: The State of the World’s Human Rights reports “France extradited former de facto head of state Manuel Noriega to Panama where he had been convicted in his absence of the murder of political opponents, among other crimes.” This proves that government officials are not above the law, and they can also be exposed of a crime. Despite the numerous organizations striving to eradicate human rights violations, many leaders around the globe chose to not apply these laws within their communities. Civilians are forced to take matters into their own hands without the government acknowledging the horrid condition men and women have to face daily. Although international laws will be implemented, it’s up to the leaders who represent these countries to follow. 


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Featured Image via Matheus Viana


Resources: 

https://www.cfr.org/report/global-human-rights-regime

https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/documents/atrocity-crimes/Doc.21_declaration%20elimination%20vaw.pdf 

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/05/18/saudi-arabia-womens-rights-advocates-arrested

http://files.amnesty.org/air12/air_2012_full_en.pd

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