The Fault in Our Human Rights

How many times have you thought about your human rights? Or questioned whether they have been, or are, violated?  

How many times did you wake up thinking about the day ahead fearing that you will be subjected to an arbitrary arrest because of your last night’s political discussion you had with one of your colleagues at work; or when you foolishly complained about your president’s decision of raising the income taxes imposed only on you and those who belong to the working class?  

Chances are, if you were in a state governed by the rule of law, or so it’s called, you have no such fear whatsoever!

On the other hand, if you were a citizen of the same democratic state, how many times have you thought of your right? Let’s say, your right to political participation (ie. Voting right or political freedom)?  

The other day, I had a conversation with a stranger on the train (British citizen in her mid 20’s) and our conversation took a turn after we spoke about life (nothing political, I won’t risk an arbitrary arrest!!).

I told her about my studies etc and how I want to pursue a career in human rights? Her response was “what is that? You mean human resources?” Mind you, I was shocked to a degree I stopped for a minute to recap.  

Maybe I shouldn’t be so shocked because I was familiar with the fact that ‘human rights’ is a complex term, though from the surface it seems the opposite.

But it is not easy! Human rights as a term never was and never will be easy or simple. You need to take one look at your current news feed and you will see what I mean by saying that.

This is because people die on a daily basis fighting for their human rights and dignity. They are willing to leave their homes, risk their lives and protest to claim their human rights. So, it could never be an easy term and maybe we should never treat it as one. 

 So, when we reach the point of taking the protection of our human rights for granted, then we need to be alert. When such a term becomes a foreign term to some of us, like my lovely friend on the train, then it is time we should start to worry as to where we are heading as a global society.   

Take for instance the percentage of voter turnout in two European states; in the UK’s 2017 general elections the turnout percentage was %68.7. And it has not gone above %83.9 since the 1950’s election.  

Similarly, in the 2017 French presidential elections %67.9 was the turnout percentage which was pronounced to be the “worst turnout in modern history.   

The highest voter turnout in our modern history is %87.2, in Belgium’s 2014 elections.    

Now, you might think that remains a good percentage, but the deep question here is what is the reason behind our human rights not to be used to their full potential?  

The point I am trying to make is, that it seems that once a society had successfully obtained the democratic status thereafter comes the tendency for us taking them for granted. I am not being an idealistic here or trying to build a Platonic World of sort (although it might not be a bad idea to do so), but it is such a shame to see one of the crucial human rights left unused by some, and this is a mere example! Because it is this point in time where political corruption increases, and consequently the threat to our human rights.   

So tomorrow when you wake up ask yourself “which of my human rights will be violated today?” just in case! 

*What are your thoughts? Looking forward to reading your comments*

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