Who has Human Rights? The Question that Needs to be Asked

Photo by Sora Shimazaki: https://www.pexels.com/photo/no-place-for-hate-text-on-cardboard-5935750/

Nothing embodies more the quality of a human being than being recognized for their worth and value. That is the key aim for the acknowledgment and awareness of adopting global human rights. 

The talk on human rights is one of the topics that cover the broadest range of interests. No one can point out the exact date or time when human rights were recognized and put into practice by humanity. One thing is for sure; it is a subject that is as old as civilization. And if there is anything that can be called a universal right, it is that of human rights. 

Sparrows of Senegambia is Dr. Charles Sampson’s book on rising above life circumstances. The author recounted his travel to the West African countries of Senegal and the Gambia in this memoir. Dr. Sampson compared his life and work experiences to the sparrows – a symbol of power, hard work, perseverance, productivity, and persistence. 

The author’s country of origin has long been known for high mobility or migration. There were around 8.4 million migrants that moved around West Africa, the most significant migration movement in Africa. Migration is considered one of the most fundamental human rights, without which the population of other countries will cease to exist. But then, it is also one of the human rights that has been the subject of discrimination, exploitation, and marginalization. 

Just how essential is this human behavior and principle in today’s society?

Understanding Human Rights

To know how significant human rights is to understand its meaning and application. A human right is a human’s claim to living and being in this life. It is an inherent, fundamental right and freedom that belongs to every individual in this world. It served as an ideal that recognizes and protects the integrity and dignity of all human beings. Laws are designed and implemented to protect these rights while ensuring that these individual rights do not infringe or violate the rights belonging to others.  

Human rights are universal. This means anyone in this world is entitled to them and that no one can readily relinquish these rights.

Human rights are also equal and indivisible. All have equal status and share in these rights. No one is above, and no one should be subjugated. No one should be discriminated against their race, color, sex, age, ethnicity, language, culture, religion, political or social belief, etc. Everyone can freely participate in the overall development and benefit of society. 

The birth of the recognition of human rights emerged after World War II. Although this idea has been in the making for centuries, given the evolution of religion and social classes, it was on December 10, 1948, when human rights were formally adopted and recognized as a global requirement for recognizing men’s rights. It was on this day when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the 56-member countries of the United Nations and became a revolution in international law. Governments began to adopt the measures written in the declaration to incorporate the rights into their democratic system. 

Here are some of the recognized fundamental human rights found in the declaration. 

Right to Life

One important human right is the right to life, which should precede anything else. It is an inherent right, reaffirming that every human being has the right to life and has the right to live. The government and recognized authorities shall take all measures to ensure this right’s effectiveness. Another critical point to this right is that nobody, including the government or persons in power, can end anybody’s life. 

Right to Equality

This is equal protection rights. It states that everyone has the right to be accepted anywhere and everywhere according to their person. They have the right to be treated equally under the law and are afforded the same equal protection as everyone else. 

Right to Freedom of Thought, Opinion, and Expression

This fundamental right protects individuals’ rights to hold and express their opinions without interference from others or the government. This comprises protests, demonstrations, and published works, such as articles, books, leaflets, or any printed media, TV, or radio broadcasting. The right also includes the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas. 

Right to Freedom from Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment

Torture intentionally inflicts severe or cruel physical or mental suffering on another individual. The aim of torture is often obtaining information, intimidating, or serving as punishment. The inhuman treatment causes intense physical or mental pain, including severe physical assault, psychological interrogation, serious physical or psychological abuse, etc. Degrading treatment is applied to demean or cause extreme humiliation to a human being. The target of degradation is the individual’s integrity or dignity. 

This particular right is one of the most indispensable rights since it targets the person’s self-respect, self-worth, and overall character that defines them as human beings. 

Who has Human Rights?

Everyone has human rights, and everyone is entitled to them. Human rights are essential to preserving humanity and ensuring everyone can live their lives with dignity. Every person is a steward of their rights. At the same time, everyone is also tasked to look out for the rights of others. No one is exempted from this fundamental, God-given right. Men, women, children, all races of all colors, all genders, all nations, and even criminals and law-breakers are afforded this right.

So, who has human rights? Everyone, without a doubt.  


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