Chapter 13: Human Rights, Democracy and Globalization Human rights is an issue that is in the news a lot. Even though the UN has created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 it is not being followed in all countries - different countries and cultures treat each other (and their citizens) differently. One of the most well known groups for being a voice for human rights is Amnesty International. They bring attention to human rights abuses all around the world through media, marches and protests.
The fact that groups like Amnesty International exist: • Demonstrates that not everyone agrees on the issue of human rights. • raises questions such as: • what is a universal right? • should everyone have the same rights?
Can rights that focus on things like individual freedom undermine important collective rights and values - such as those emphasized by other non-Western countries and Indigenous people? • Ex: could emphasizing individual freedom of action limit people’s ability to protect the environment?
Assignment Booklet: Views on Human Rights • Look at Figures 13-2 to 13-5 (pg 306). • Discuss: • Which of the human rights would you support most strongly, and why? • Be prepared to defend your decision.
How did ‘human rights’ come to be? • - can be traced back to a large European middle class and influential individuals such as Adam Smith and John Locke. • -they believed in: • individual independence-freedom-governments should exercise only limited control over citizens. • The Enlightenment period also played an important role in the evolution of human rights and which rights are inalienable (cannot be taken away).
These ideas on rights were able to spread because: • inventions like the printing press: • books, pamphlets, and newspapers could be printed and distributed more cheaply and quickly. • technological changes: • people could travel farther, faster, and more often than before.
Democracy & Human Rights • “Democracy” and “human rights” seem to be terms that go hand in hand. • Yet are human rights always protected in democracies? Can dictatorships care about human rights?
Ancient Persia • Cyrus, the king of Persia in 6th century BCE (600 BCE – 501 BCE), is said to have ruled with religious tolerance. • When he conquered Babylon, (present-day Iraq), he even restored the temples of people he conquered.
The Cyrus Cylinder • Archeologists believe that Cyrus ordered his promises recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder, which describes his conquest, and then the just and tolerant way people would be treated. • Some historians call this cylinder an early version of a charter of rights. In ancient Babylonian civilization, important information was sometimes inscribed onto a clay cylinder. This small cylinder measures 23 by 8 cm.
Ancient Greece • In the sixth century BCE (600 BCE – 501 BCE), any male citizen of Athens could vote and participate in democratic debate.
Ancient Rome • In the first century CE (1 CE – 100 CE), the Roman emperor Claudius passed laws protecting slaves who were sick. • He also decreed that conquered peoples could become Roman citizens and even members of the Senate. Ruled 41 CE – 54 CE
Ancient India • Laws of Manu: • written in 1st or 2nd century CE, but grew out of traditions that existed long before that. • Laws include statements about how women, children, and various members of different castes – social classes defined by Hindu religion – should be treated and how they should behave.
Important Documents in the Evolution of Human Rights Recognition: 1. The Great Law of Peace – established by Native peoples before European contact regarding elected representatives and decision making 2. The AmericanConstitution – 1787 by the 13 colonies that eventually formed the USA, was the early makings of the government and decision making. 3. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (see Ass’tbklt) 4. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Adopted in 1982 as part of the constitution put more emphasis on human rights and protecting rights and freedoms.
The Great Law of Peace • Created by the Haudenosaunee, who lived near the lower Great Lakes. • Before the arrival of Europeans, five Haudenosaunee nations formed the Iroquois Confederacy. • The Great Law of Peace set out a decision-making process in which elected representatives of each nation met to make decisions on issues that concerned the confederacy.
The American Constitution • Created in 1787 by representatives of the 13 colonies that had formed the US. • established the Congress, which consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives and set out a decision-making process. • Benjamin Franklin, one of the developers, was influenced by the Great Law of Peace
Universal Declaration of Human Rights • Made to try and prevent a recurrence of the atrocities of World War II. • Sets out individual rights in six areas: • political rights (right to vote and participate in gov’t) • civil rights (right to freedom of opinion and expression) • equality rights (right to be free from discrimination) • economic rights (right to fair wages and safe working conditions) • cultural rights (right to speak one’s home language)
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms • Adopted in 1982 as part of the Constitution Act. • Protects the following rights and freedoms: • fundamental freedoms (right to freedom of religion) • democratic rights (right to vote) • mobility rights (right to move within Canada) • legal rights (right to life, liberty, and security of people) • equality rights (right to protection of the law without discrimination of race, religion, sex, age, disability, etc.) • language rights (equality of French & English language) • minority-language education rights (provincial gov’t must provide certain language rights to French or English minorities)
Human Rights and Colonization • Assignment booklet • Read text pgs 314-316. • Complete both questions.
Many people would argue that globalization has increased the support and advancement of human rights around the world. Why is this so? On the flip side, because of outsourcing and companies moving their factories to where labour costs are cheaper, many companies have been in the news for abuses of human rights at their factories. Savar Building Collapse: http://www.windsorstar.com/business/Gallery+more+hope+Bangladesh/8309786/story.html
Trade & Human Rights • Trade can be a powerful force in stopping human rights violations. • Apartheid era in South Africa: • many countries boycotted South African products and refused to trade with the South African gov’t. • Economic sanctions such as these are often an effective tool for persuading a gov’t to stop violating people’s human rights.
Trade & Human Rights • Trade sanction do not always work and can sometimes make a situation worse. • 1990: the United Nations imposed economic sanctions on Iraq after President Saddam Hussein ordered troops to invade Kuwait. • As a result, Iraqi citizens suffered tremendously because they were deprived of basic necessities, such as food and medicine. • They could do nothing about it since they lived in a repressive dictatorship and were powerless to stop Saddam.
Transnational Corporations & Human Rights • For transnational corporations, economic globalization is about securing their right to move people and goods freely across borders. • Many transnationals move factories to countries and regions where labour costs are lower and environment regulations less strict. • This practice has led to many human rights violations. (Savar, China, etc.)
Privatization & Human Rights • Economic globalization has also placed pressure on gov’ts to reduce spending and lower taxes. This has reduced money for health care, education, and water. • Human rights activists argue that cutbacks in gov’t spending increase inequality. This is because private companies take over previous public services and jack up prices. Some ppl no longer can afford to use these services.
Another issue that we are seeing with more globalization and freer movement of trade is a disturbing trend in human trafficking • people who want a better life in another country are preyed on by criminal organizations that help them immigrate illegally, often forced into situations that would be a huge violation of human rights. • People usually come from the poorer regions of the world, where opportunities are limited, and are often from the most vulnerable in society, such as runaways, refugees, or other displaced persons. • People who are seeking entry to other countries may be picked up by traffickers, and misled into thinking that they will be free after being smuggled across the border.
Children & Human Trafficking • Trafficking of children often involves exploitation of the parents' extreme poverty. • Parents may sell children to traffickers in order to pay off debts or gain income or they may be deceived concerning the prospects of training and a better life for their children. • In West Africa, trafficked children have often lost one or both parents to the African AIDS crisis. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGAaWjsAOCA
Media can help: A positive role that the media can play in these types of situation is to bring light to the situation. The media has the potential to have millions of viewers at any one time, it is a very fast way to educate the public. Shows such as 20/20 and Dateline are good examples of this. Tank Man Pg 219