Imagine you live in a country where the military has just taken over the government. They proclaim that every person of your race is a second-class citizen. You cannot vote or own property, and any land or house you own is taken away. You can only work at low-paying labor jobs, no matter what your education or training. Those were a few examples of human rights violations. Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law. Human rights are important because they encourage an individual’s well-being and discourage actions that injure a person’s dignity, security, and liberty. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on December 10, 1948. This declaration of rights theoretically applies everywhere in the world. Regrettably, not all countries are members of the UN so this means that some countries do not follow theUDHR. Slavery and human trafficking still exists all over the world and Atlanta was named by the FBI as one of 14 US cities with the highest rate of children used in prostitution. To learn more about modern day slavery watch this video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOr6jViUhMc.

Another human rights violation is genocide. This is when one group of people intend to eliminate a large number of people who they believe are different. The Holocaust was genocide against Jewish people simply because of their religion and culture, as well as gypsies and the disabled simply because they were perceived as different from those in power. During that time, 11 million Jews were killed just for their religious and cultural beliefs. The Rwandan Genocide took place in 1994 over the course of 100 days. Approximately 500,000 people were killed by their countrymen because they were from a different tribe.

Human trafficking is another human rights violation that is happening around the world and here in the United States. The United Nations definition of human trafficking is “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation”. The Asia Pacific region is seen as the most vulnerable region for trafficking because of its huge population pyramid, growing urbanization, and extensive poverty. Victims of trafficking suffer from physical and mental abuse and social stigmatization. They become isolated, losing ties with their former lives and families.

How would you feel if the country you lived in offered no human rights? In North Korea, human rights are heavily restricted. There is no right to free speech, and the only radio, television, and news providers that are deemed legal are those operated by the nation’s government. It is estimated that between 150,000 and 200,000 prisoners are detained in concentration camps where they perform forced labor and endure beatings, torture, and execution. Even though all these human rights violations are happening worldwide, there is something you can do.

Take this quiz to learn more on human rights.

Sources:
http://www.dosomething.org/cause/human-rights
http://www.amnestyusa.org/
http://www.youthforhumanrights.org/what-are-human-rights/universal-declaration-of-human-rights/articles-1-15.html

A video that explains all the human rights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5s7j2O9N-E

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