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Posts Tagged ‘UN’

On the Matter of Human Rights and the UDHR

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on February 25, 2009


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As I have traveled the various on line discussion groups, forum sites and mailing lists in the last ten years, I have come across some interesting, to say the least, ideas about human rights, what they are, who has them, who has them not and most curious, how they are obtained and retained.

People from all walks of life have expressed their views on these ‘issues’, and it seems that a majority of people do not grasp even the basics of what exactly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) means. It seems, people think that some people do not have any human rights, or are not entitled to some human rights and that some things are human rights that are not. All of it based on their own personal prejudices and preferences, often ruled by religious dogma or political agendas.

I have found people to be abhorrently uneducated, willfully ignorant and deliberately obtuse when faced with these thirty simple principles for human conduct, human society and human interaction.

It is all quite simple. Human rights are not earned, nor can they be forfeited or lost. They are not bestowed and they cannot be revoked. Every human being has them from the day they were born until the day they die, without exception.

“Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”

This indisputable fact notwithstanding; people in civilized countries will not only claim that it is not true, they will actively work to violate the human rights of people they deem unworthy. People like prisoners, former criminals, children, women, GLBT people and foreigners. These people are thought to have some status ailment that disqualifies them in the eyes of the people who will abuse their human rights. Yet, article 2 of the UDHR clearly says that no single, real (or imagined), status may be used to deny anyone their entitlement to all the rights in the UDHR which are the birth-right of every human being.
In the US, prisoners and former convicts do not have the “right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives” because they may not vote (article 21). Those same prisoners are also subjected “to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (article 5) when they are required by American law to inform potential employers of their crime and their conviction. This requirement frequently lead to them having their “right to social security and realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of personality” violated, because they are rejected by employers and cannot earn a decent living (article 22 and 23) due to their criminal past.
Many criminals and former criminals are “subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence”, and “attacks upon his honor and reputation” (article 12) when their names, location and crimes are made public in the press and on the Internet, either as part of news stories or as listings that take on the likeness of witch-hunts. These witch-hunts are clearly intended as an incitement to violation of these people’s human rights and often lead to former criminals being physically attacked, some times resulting in their death. Article 12 explicitly says that “everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks”, yet the lists on the Internet and news stories, which are known to incite people to perpetrate such attacks are legal in the US. All because in the US some people are not considered human beings.

Women and children do not seem to be considered human beings either. Women are consistently paid less than men, a violation of their right to equal pay for equal work (article 23). Women and children are routinely subjected to attacks upon their honour and reputation (article 12), when, in sexual abuse/rape cases, they are questioned about their sexual practices, morality and or drinking habits; it is implied that they invited sexual attention, all as a matter of routine in such cases. Lawyers are routinely allowed such degrading and cruel lines of questioning and argumentation by the court system and the judges. Such lines of questioning and argumentation are also violations of article 12 which stipulates that everyone has the right to protection by the law against such attacks.

GLBT people are also routinely subjected to violations of their human rights, not only when they are harassed and attacked by the general public (article 7), but also in the very legislation of the US, which refuse give them the right to marry (article 16). The UDHR doesn’t specify that men may only marry women or that women may only marry men. It specifies that men and women of full age may marry. Not a word about marriage being between a man and a women. The UDHR specifies the family as a fundamental group unit in Society that is entitled to protection by society and the State. The UDHR doesn’t define ‘family’. This means that siblings may not be separated and f.i placed in different foster homes – society and the State must protect the “family group unit” of those siblings and make sure that they are placed together, no matter how young or old they are. Not to do so is a violation of their human rights.

Millions of people in civilized countries have their human rights to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services (article 25), violated, even in national legislation when minimum wage is not  set sufficiently high to provide a safe and secure standard of living, health care and unemployment  payment are dependent on previous savings or insurance payments. This is especially grievous when it strikes children. Article 25 especially specifies that all children shall enjoy the same social protection, and still they don’t, not even in the richest countries of the world, such as the US. Not all children have a home, a family, and safe place they can call their own, nor do alll children have the same protection before the law. Children from wealthy families, educated families or politically powerful families are rarely tried as adults or have to serve time in detention centers, simply because of who their parents are, how much money or education their families have. In fact, children from wealthy families, educated families or politically powerful families rarely see their parents go to jail, not because their parents don’t commit crimes, but because their parents aren’t either found out or are aquitted in court due to what is considered their social standing. This is a violation of their human rights. Being held accountable, being considered responsible for one’s actions are actually human rights too, and every time people are not held accountable or seen as responsible for their actions in accordance with their mental, intellectual and spiritual faculties, their human rights are being violated.

The UDHR doesn’t only protect human rights, it also protects human responsibilities, (article 1). With each of the thirty principles of Rights of the UDHR comes an equal principle of Responsibility to make sure that the right stated is given to each one of the human race.

This is another indisputable fact, which to many is not self-evident. I have found that many people seem to be very adamant about their rights to all sorts of things, especially in the area of the right to freedom of expression (article 19), even to a point where they actually promote violation of this right when it comes to others. I.e they claim the right to say anything at any time in any place they like, but are at the same time claiming that others do not have this right. if what others say either does not agree with them or point out that what they say is hurtful, demeaning and  abusive. Apart from being highly hypocritical it is also wrong, according to the UDHR.

They have no problem incarcerating people  based on a mere suspicion that they might belong to groups of people they have dehumanized, but if people from that dehumanized group should treat them or their friends similarly, they start screaming about rights they denied their alleged adversaries five minutes earlier.

They don’t mind subjecting people they consider lesser than themselves to cruel and inhuman treatment, like water boarding, but if those “lesser” people decapitates some of their friends on national TV, they scream bloody murder.

The fine things about the UDHR is that it’s for all people, regardless of who happens to be popular any given week. The UDHR guarantee that any violations of human rights are the same regardless of who perpetrates them and regardless of who is the victim of such violations.

None of the rights enumerated in the UDHR may be used to violate any of the rights enumerated in the UDHR (article 30). This is the guarantee that we are all responsible as well as imbued with rights the same as everyone else’s.

My safeguarding another’s rights means that in the end I am safeguarding my own rights.

Posted in Human Rights Activists/Martyrs, UDHR | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Please sign the Petition

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on July 1, 2008


Prevent UN Child abuse
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/prevent-UN-personnel-from-abusing-children-in-war-zones

This petition has only picked up 507 signatures in three weeks, it deserves far better. So please if you have not signed – SIGN – and please forward/send to your friends and family and implore them to sign.

Here are some articles that describe the problem and out line the need for the changes this petition is asking for.

U.N. Security Council Says Sexual Violence Akin to War Crimes
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-violence20-2008jun20,0,3588547.story

The problem with the recent measures is that they do not make the UN Personnel who commit this kind of crimes accountable before an International Court – the personnel next to never face any consequences as a result of their crimes, other than being sent home.

Articles about how UN Personnel abuse and exploit women and children in war zones.

http://blogs.ushmm.org/WorldIsWitness/horror_and_hope/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1538556/UN-to-hold-inquiry-into-Sudan-child-abuse.html

http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2008/05/28/peacekeepers_accused_of_sexual_abuse_of_children/

As unbelievable as it is, this is happening, it is happening now and we really need to stop it. The only Body that can stop it is the UN, because it is their personnel who are the criminals here, and they need to step up and reform the way they deal with this sort of thing, both in the field and in the legislation.

Please sign the petition

Hugs,
Silly Old Bear/Henric

Posted in Petition | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

National Egotism

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 21, 2008


NEW YORK (AP) — Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan questioned whether all countries on the Security Council have lived up to their responsibility to protect civilians in Darfur from atrocities.

Kofi Annan

Annan said there was “quite a bit of hypocrisy on all sides” in trying to resolve the five-year conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region, especially in encouraging the African Union to take on peacekeeping without sufficient resources.

The overwhelmed A.U. force struggled for years to stem the bloodshed in Darfur until it was replaced by a joint A.U.-U.N. force that began deploying in January after months of wrangling with the Sudanese government.

The new force is authorized to have 26,000 troops and police but only a fraction are on the ground. Annan criticized well-equipped countries for refusing to provide essential helicopters for the mission despite repeated appeals from the U.N.

At a dinner in his honor on Thursday, Annan said U.N. member states had placed the duty to protect civilians threatened by genocide or war crimes in the hands of the members of the Security Council.

“It is fair to question whether all of them have yet fully lived up to that responsibility — notably in Darfur,” Annan said.

I am not surprised… It’s good to see someone like Annan finally speak out about the horrible record of inaction so many UN member countries have shown in respect to Darfur. I guess it’s because Darfur has no real resources, so the members with the most basic resources are also those who refuse to help. “If you have nothing I can steal, why should I help you?” That’s the nature of National Egotism.

Posted in UN | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Republic of Kosovo – World Nation # 197*

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on February 18, 2008


Kosovo Flag

Poor Albanians… You still don’t get it.

You are under educated as much as the Serbs are. Your incompetent little joke of “country” will never be independent. You have only changed the boss.

Do you really think Americans help you because they like you? Or because you suffered? Do you really believe in American fairy-tales about the world democracy and human rights?

I am pretty aware why US want Kosovo independent. In fact, they do not want it independent as much they want it OUT of Serbia.

I think most other people too are aware of why the US wants Kosovo out of Serbia, just as we all know why Russia and Serbia wants it to remain inside Serbia.

The reserves of Kosovo coal is enough for the needs of the whole Serbia in the next 200 years (17 billions of tons)
The soil samples from Kosovo indicate enormous reserves of the oil – though very deep in the ground (but not unreachable). Also, Manas Petroleum Corp. confirmed this researching oil reserves in North Albania (visit their website here)
The reserves of galena ore and zinc ores are practically inexhaustible. These ores are concentrated in the mine of Trepca (read: Trepcha), the second biggest lead and zinc producer in Europe
Big reserves of rare minerals such the ores of boron (used in nuclear technology), nickel and cobalt.
The agricultural potential is said to be bigger than the one in Vojvodina (Serbian North)
Fresh water – no comment

    It is obvious, very obvious. An Independent Kosovo is a very rich country in terms of raw materials.
    However, this has nothing to do with the reason why Kosovars want out of Serbia. They want out for the same reason Finland wanted out of Russia, East Timor wanted of Indonesia, India wanted out of the Brittish Commom Wealth, Palestine wants to be a Nation of their own and Abkhasia declared their independence – People have an innate desire for self-determination. They also have the right.
    Kosovars aren’t Albanians, nor are they Serbs, Turks, Romani people, Goranis, Bosniaks or other ethnic communities. They are Kosovars. That is why, ultimately, they want to be the Republic of Kosovo. That is why we should hail them as the newest member of the 194 country strong International Community, and support their efforts to remain independent and free of imperialistic interventions from the US, Russia and Serbia or any other nation who wish to strip Kosovo of her rich natural resources that are rightfully hers and her people’s.

    *“Definitions of what constitutes a country also vary. Some will go with the simple view that if it is a member of the United Nations(UN) it’s a country. By that reckoning there are 192 countries in the world. But Vatican City is undoubtedly a country, and not a member of the UN, so that means the total must now be 193! Oh and then there are Taiwan and Tibet – so that’s 195.” This site is not counting East Timor and Kosovo, so…that makes 197.

    Posted in Kosovo | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

    Burma:United Nations: A lame Duck?

    Posted by Henric C. Jensen on October 8, 2007


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    Ibrahim Gambari (left) and Ban Ki Moon addressed the UN in New York today, Oct 5

    The UN Secretary-General today attacked the Burmese military junta’s “abhorrent and unacceptable” crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Rangoon.

    Ban Ki Moon demanded that Burma “take bold actions towards democratisation and respect for human rights” after demonstrations led by Buddhist monks were crushed by the army.

    The Secretary-General was addressing the Security Council before Ibrahim Gambari, the UN envoy who returned from Burma this week, raised concerns about continuing human rights abuses.

    Mr Gambari met General Than Shwe, the head of the Burmese junta, and the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a four-day trip to the country. Through shuttle diplomacy he was able to open the lines of communication between the Government and Ms Suu Kyi for the first time in years. From Times Online

    UN has been criticized because its mandate to stop violations of human rights in any nation is weakened by it’s own set-up, which at one time has been voted on and accepted by 192 world nations. Or as TimesOnline put it:

    “Calls for sanctions to be levied by the UN Security Council will go unheeded, however, as China is prepared to veto any punitive move. They claim that there is no reason to intervene in a purely domestic dispute.”

    In a nutshell this is UN’s main problem in regards to actually making a difference in cases such as Burma – there will always be one or other Member of the Security Council to use their veto to put any measures proposed off indefinitely.

    While non-binding resolutions and condemnations go on each nations record as they are issued, they have very little force exactly because they are non-binding:

    UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – Faced with mounting world outrage over violence in Myanmar, the UN Security Council was to meet Monday under pressure to quickly condemn the military regime for crushing pro-democracy protests.

    The 15-member body was to weigh a draft statement that would condemn “the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations” by Myanmar’s rulers, urge them to “cease repressive measures” and release detainees as well as all political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

    The non-binding text, drafted by the United States, Britain and was submitted Friday to the full council after members heard a report from UN emissary Ibrahim Gambari on his recent mission to defuse the crisis.

    The Burmese Junta can leisurely meet with UN envoys this and that, and then do as they wish any way. I am thinking back to South Africa during the Apartheid era. What was it that eventually made the oppressive government buckle and fall?

    One thing I remember: Individual Nations banded together, without the UN, and imposed financial sanctions. It’s hard to function if you have no trade-partners. Popular opinion and protests – world wide protests.

    One thing’s for sure, it didn’t happen because of UN Resolutions.

    UN wasn’t thought up to be a lame duck. It was meant to be a true World Government, with the power to actually make peace, safe-guard human rights and be an instrument of what is good – unfortunately for us all petty grievances over this and that piece of power put forward by individual nations have put the UN in a position where any of the above positive is not really achievable.

    Perhaps we all need to petition our governments to recant some of their demands on the UN, so the UN can become something more than just an abbreviation we learn about in school, so maybe the UN can become The United Nations. Any time to do what is right is the right time, and the crisis in Burma is as good as any.

    Posted in Burma | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

     
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