United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights
“Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free” HH Dalai Lama.
Human rights refer to the “basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled” (United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 2009). Perhaps basic human rights are the most violated rights in this developing and competing world. Human right watch explains, “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 brother hood.” When we think about this globally, globalization has vivid effects on human rights. The poor farmers in Africa cannot compete with the global powers or global markets. They spend their entire lives in their fields for livelihood. Moreover, when they try to sell this in their own markets they have to lower their prices drastically to compete with the products from other parts of the world.
Community is the most delicate part where human beings live and interact with their environment. Communis is a word derived from Latin where com means together and munis derived from Etruscan meaning to have charge of. In biology, community is a group of organisms where they interact to each other while they share a common space, which is called the environment (Alpert 2001). Sociologists explain community as a group of people living in a common location with shared interests. These shared interest can be environment, basic needs etc.
Globalization is a not a new phenomenon. It began in the 19th century but slowed down during the time of First World War and started growing again in the 20th century. “Globalization is a widely-used term that can be defined in a number of different ways. When used in an economic context, it refers to the reduction and removal of barriers between national borders in order to facilitate the flow of goods, capital, and services and labor, although considerable barriers remain to the flow of labor” (The United Nations ESCWA). Globalization is an integrative concept where nations come together and open their doors for free trade and exchange of commodities and interests which is mutually beneficial.
Human scholars over the years developed theories, concepts and law and order that help sustain societal order and ensure survival. Human rights are basic rights of human beings that include, access to food, water, space, right to property, religion, and right to self etc (Kuijer 2004). The early 1600’s to 1800’s are always mentioned as the black years because human rights violation was a practice in the form of slavery and racism. The excellent movie named Amazing Grace, directed by Michael Apted depicts the severity of the practice of slavery, slave trade and how William Wilberforce, worked hard for 5 years just to pass the abolishment act of slave trade in UK within the House of Representatives.
In the ancient times, each society had their own laws, rules and regulation where a group of seniors defines justice for the entire population. Even now when we look at Amazon tribes, American Indians, Kalahari Bushmen, many tribes in Africa, each has their own law and order. The writer believes that the human rights are well kept in their societies and communities. Of course, they have fighting and quarreling, but the casualties can be counted on two hands when compared to fighting and quarreling in a so-called developed society. In the movie “The Gods must be Crazy”, one can see how the Bushman thinks about us, the so-called developed people as illiterates. He says that we cannot even sense our own environment; he could not understand why the two soldiers were fighting. When he found a dying elephant with its tusks removed by hunters from the developed world, he asked why the illiterates took the unwanted part (the tusk) and left the good part (the meat). He passed the news to the nearby community and his family to gather the meat. The writer would like to emphasize this mentality that many of the tribal people share but many of the developed communities do not. Human rights and justice are very closely associated. Justice determines human rights and human rights promote justice.
The writer would like to focus on one area of human right violation. During war, construction works etc. many times the nearby populations are affected; they are either displaced or killed during war. When we look at development all over the world, people with the money and government with power decides what to do, where to do and when to do. Many of the times, poor people are displaced from their own environment, their own communities where they have emotional and other ties. Is this a violation of their rights?
The interview revealed a great amount of the stress hidden among administrators in nonprofit organizations. In many work places, unethical problems happen. It can range from unethical service to sexual harassment. Sexual Harassment is one of the most deadly of the all. It can be explained as patterns of behavior like teasing, commenting etc. to actual physical contact. In the interview, the administrator shared how the students and the faculty found it very hard to complain about a professor who was behaving inappropriately. But the writer does not believe in dismissal of the person. However, the writer would like to look for behavioral modification techniques or early adulthood behavioral training etc.
Peter Singer’s arguments are largely ethical and it is not always self-evident and obvious. The far away people will always find more immediate concerns like the above without thinking much about his mentioning about starvation, diseases, global warming, justice and globalization etc. However, the writer also thinks the ideas of Singer can definitely spark alternative ideas in the individuals who wish to bring their own communities and societies a change. The writer always wonders whether the principle of greater happiness or Utilitarianism and altruism is ever practical in this developed world other than those in untouched and far away tribes.
Singer, Peter, One World: The Ethics of Globalization, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002
Sen, Amartya. Utilitarianism and Welfarism, 1979, http://www.jstor.org/pss/2025934 Accessed on June 8 2009
Alpert, Peter. “Concept of communities.” In Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, vol. 5, San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 282-91, 2001
Kuijer, Leiden Journal of International Law (1997), 10 : 49-67 Cambridge University Published online by Cambridge University Press 02 Mar 2004
United Nations University, “Globalization” 2009, www.unu.edu/globalization, accessed June 8 2009.