Don't tell me the moon is shining;
show me the glint of light on broken glass.
~Anton Chekhov

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Simple Solution to Human Rights Issues

Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Simple reciprocity.
Bloggers Unite
Here we are in the 21st century, still facing basic violations of rights that have been established as an ideal for centuries. Too many people seem to believe that the Golden Rule should apply to them, but not to everyone else.

In Judaism, (and Christianity) one of the Ten Commandments found in the Old Testament, Leviticus 19:18 states:

"Thou shalt Love thy neighbor as thyself."

Look around the world, how many people live in dignity, equality, and without fear of reprisals if they express themselves? How many cultures or countries have divisions among their citizens based on race, sex, color, language, religion or political views?

From the Hindu Hitopadesa:
"One should always treat others as they themselves wish to be treated."

Mahabharata 5:1517
"This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you."

We still live in a world where slavery exists. People are imprisoned without access to proper defense, or fair and public trials. Women are raped, forced into marriages, and treated as second-class citizens. Children die of starvation. Basic needs such as clean water, education, and medical care are not available to an enormous portion of the world population on a reliable basis.

In the Buddhist Udanavarga it states:
"Hurt not others with that which pains yourself."

The American Declaration of Independence, U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) are just a few of the many documents establishing goals and ideals for every person on the planet.

Confucious in Doctrine of the Mean 13.3

"Tse-kung asked, 'Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?' Confucius replied, 'It is the word 'shu' -- reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.'"

What are Human Rights?

A few established in the United Nations declaration in 1948 include:

  • 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, colour, 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."

  • Article 3.

"Everyone has the right to live, have liberty, and security of person."

  • Article 12.

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

  • Article 19.

"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."

Islam--Number 13 of Imam "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths

"None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."

Human Rights Protection

Putting aside arguments of 'which' rights are the most important, it is impossible to offer protection against violators without:

Communication (free press, free expression, free internet use)

Honest judiciary

Integrity among enforcers

Every citizen of the world is responsible for working toward that ideal.

Native American Spirituality, Black Elk

"All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One."

Has the U. N. failed in its mission of protection?

The U. N. Security Council's mandate includes the authorization to enforce human rights laws. Perhaps a re-evaluation of the tools of enforcement available to this body might allow them to live up to their potential.

Shinto--Ko-ji-ki Hachiman Kasuga

"Be charitable to all beings, love is the representative of God."

There are so many issues, so many violations—where do we begin?

In the U. S., we have the 'War on Terror' issues, of which Guantanamo Bay is a potent symbol. There are the thousands of Iraqi refugees created by our misguided war on that country. We have illegal wiretaps, intimidations, and an overwhelming sense that "Big Brother" is watching. We have inadequate medical care for many of our citizens. We, who are taught that we are the bastion of freedom and human rights, are still violating them.

  • Around the world we have censorship, starvation, discrimination.

  • It could easily be argued that every human also has the right to a healthy ecosystem and environment.

  • No matter how idealistic the government, the agreed upon rights are violated everywhere. It would never happen without co-operation of at least some of their people. Governments don't torture, people do.

New Testament of the Bible, Matthew 7:12, Jesus says:
"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."

Each person can make a difference if they begin in some way to practice what they inherently believe. We all want and expect to be treated well. To be treated as well as we treat others only seems fair.

SOLVING the Problem One Person At A Time

There are so many issues, perhaps the best thing each of us can do is choose one, and make an effort each week to work toward making that issue disappear.

Below are many links that offer assistance and insights. I have not checked out every detail of each site, and do not necessarily agree with everything said or presented. However, visit as many as you can and see what YOU can do to help.



Reporters Without Borders...

Internet Freedom:

Press/1st Amend:


United Nations:




Amnesty International

Red Cross International

Human Rights Tribune

Human Rights Organizations List

Human Rights Watch

U S Dept of State




Doctors Without Borders:

Physicians For Human Rights:






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