60 years after its issue the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still more a dream than reality

Anonyme, Mercredi, Juin 15, 2011 - 22:54

Human rights advocates agree that 60 years after its issue the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still more a dream than reality.

Violations exist in every part of the world. Amnesty International's World Report 2008 and other sources show that individuals are tortured or abused in at least 81 countries, face unfair trials in at least 54 countries and are restricted in their freedom of expression in at least 77 countries. Women and children in particular are marginalized in numerous ways, the press is not free in many countries, and dissenters are silenced, too often permanently. While some gains have been made in six decades, human rights violations still plague our world today.

Article 3 — The Right to Life

"Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
FACTS - An estimated 6,500 people were killed in 2007 in armed conflict in Afghanistan, nearly half noncombatant civilian deaths at the hands of insurgents. Hundreds of civilians were also killed in suicide attacks by armed groups.

In Brazil in 2007, according to official figures, police killed at least 1,260 individuals — the highest total to date. All incidents were officially labeled "acts of resistance" and received little or no investigation.

Article 4 — No Slavery

“No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms."

FACTS - In northern Uganda, the IRA (Lord's Resistance Army) guerillas have kidnapped 20,000 children over the past 20 years and forced them into service as soldiers or sexual slaves for the army.

In Asia, Japan is the major destination country for trafficked women, especially women coming from the Philippines and Thailand. UNICEF estimates 60,000 child prostitutes in the Philippines.

Article 5 — No Torture

"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

In 2008, US authorities continued to hold 270 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without charge or trial, subjecting them to "water-boarding," torture that simulates drowning. Ex President George W. Bush authorized the CIA to continue secret detention and interrogation, despite its violation of international law.

In Darfur, violence, atrocities and abduction are rampant and outside aid all but cut off. Women in particular are the victims of unrestrained assault, with more than 200 rapes in the vicinity of a displaced persons camp in a 5-week period, with no effort by authorities to punish the perpetrators.

Article 19 — Freedom of Expression

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Russia repressed political dissent, pressured or shut down independent media and harassed nongovernmental organizations. Peaceful public demonstrations were dispersed with force, and lawyers, human rights defenders and journalists were threatened and attacked. In the past eight years, the murders of 20 journalists, all critical of government policies and actions, remain unsolved.

In Iraq, at least 37 Iraqi employees of media networks were killed in 2008 and 235 since the invasion of March 2003, making Iraq the world’s most dangerous place for journalists.

Human rights exist, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the entire body of international human rights law. They are recognized at least in principle by most nations and form the heart of many national constitutions. Yet the actual situation in the world is far distant from the ideals envisioned in the Declaration.

Discrimination is rampant throughout the world. Thousands are in prison for speaking their minds. Torture and politically motivated imprisonment, often without trial, are commonplace, condoned and practiced even in some democratic countries.

To some, the full realization of human rights is a remote and unattainable goal. Even international human rights laws are difficult to enforce and pursuing a complaint can take years and a great deal of money. These international laws serve a restraining function but are insufficient to provide adequate human rights protection, as evidenced by the stark reality of abuses perpetrated daily.

You can make a difference. Urge the world’s governments to fully implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

What are Human Rights? Find out at

Youth for Human Rights International educates teachers, students and community groups about our 30 human rights with an award-winning educational program. The key component of the program is a youth-oriented video depiction of the 30 rights as identified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “The Story of Human Rights” is a powerful DVD that defines human rights and how they have matured from the past to the present. The program includes the impacting music video “UNITED”, which conveys a resolute message against bullying and promoting a respect for human rights. The Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology is a proud supporter of Youth for Human Rights International.

To see these videos for free, or to receive a free educators guide go to:

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