Human Rights Essay in the New Millennium
Human rights issues are taking on new focus in the new millennium. Economic and social rights are a paramount concern as the link between adequate and inadequate living standards. Governmental and non-governmental organizations are realizing that some countries take precedent over other countries when it comes to human rights. In the new millennium, cases that violate human rights are being taken more serious than ever before. International prosecution against individuals and corporations will take place if human rights charges are brought against them.
Human rights have been an issue in the international community since the beginning of time. Many bills and declarations have been written to distinguish what rights humans have by nature and what constitutes a human rights violation. The Bill of Rights in America, English Magna Carta of England, and the French Declaration of Man of France all set forth what human rights each citizen has in their respective country (Slomanson, page 494). Human rights have and will continue to be a serious issue and concern of the international community. Poverty, rights of women and children, and corporate and military involvement are only some of the issues that human rights involves.
Everyone has that right 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, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN General Assembly Resolution 217A (III) of 10 December 1948.
Article 25. The article above states that an adequate standard of living is a basic human right. Yet, according to the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) 1998 Human Development Report showed that nearly three-fifths of the 4.4 billion people living in the developing world lack basic sanitation, one third have no access to clean water and one quarter of the people do not have housing. These type of statistics are not only found in the developing world. Currently in the United States 35 million people live in poverty.
(Key Human Rights Issues in the New Millennium, Human Rights Brief, vol. 27, no 3 (Summer 2000).
Although poverty is an important issue, the international human rights agenda historically has not focused on poverty. This negligence of the international human rights community has stemmed from the division of human rights. Human rights have been divided into two distinct groups: civil and political rights vs. social and economical.
One example of each would be freedom of expression vs. the right to adequate standard of living. Two separate groups were formed to deal with each division’s needs. The ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) deals with the human rights issues regarding civil and political violations. The ICESCR (International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights) deals with violations to the individual or group of people. (Key Human Rights Issues in the New Millennium, Human Rights Brief, vol.
27, no 3 Summer 2000).
The gap between the rich and the poverty stricken is growing wider and wider each day. According to the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) 1999 Human Development Report the fifth of the world’s people living in the richest countries had an income that was seventy four times that of the fifth living in the poorest countries, up sixty times since 1990. The United States is one of these rich countries. It’s rather ironic that the one of the countries with the richest population is the most reluctant to reorganize economic rights and true human rights. Poverty is a universal human rights dilemma.
There is no reason why one person on this planet should go without. The resources and opportunity are available.
Today’s children are tomorrow’s future. That’s all the more reason why children should have the ultimate human rights protection. According to the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) 1999 Human Development Report one fifth of children are malnourished, one fifth of children do not attend school past grade five, and child mortality is high, and fourteen percent of children make up the labor force. These numbers are surprisingly high .