Human rights are rights fundamental to all humanity. This means that everyone is entitled to their rights without discrimination; these rights do not consider age, sex, race, nationality, religion, language, ethnic origins or sexual orientation. They are universal and expressed through international law by the UN; established to ensure the protection of humans and to present a set list of rules by which governments should adhere to.
Image courtesy of Frontier's Ecuador Infrastructure Development/ Community Building project.
The Vienna World Conference in 1993 was the first conference to focus entirely on international Human Rights since the the Cold War (1968), and is only the second in history.
The UN Human Rights website states: "The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, for example, noted that it is the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems."
This conference made huge historical footprints, in particular, identifying women's rights, whilst also giving consent to the Convention of the Rights for Children.
Human Rights Office - 20 years of achievements:
- Identifying universal rights for development and encouraging the need for development in impoverished nations.
- To highlight the economic, political, social, civil, cultural and social rights of every nation and their citizens.
- Identifying that the main key to success is to sustain global conservational human rights.
- Children and women have been high on the agenda during the installation of the UN human rights office, including the acknowledgement of violence against women.
- There are now international foundations that recognise the difficulties faced by migrants that now guarantee their rights.
- The development of national human rights establishments that focus solely on the issues faced within their state; providing a more detailed and specific legislation and guidance.
The UN still has many steps to climb to ensure that human rights are established in all nations. Today, there is still injustice and discrimination in some areas of the world. Women in many developing countries are treated differently than men; even in western civilisation equality in the workplace is not completely affirmed - women are still paid less, in some establishments, than men. In India, abortion amongst the middle classes is rife, women are not seen as an equal gender to men; therefore, once the sex of the embryo is known it's not rare for parents to abort the pregnancy when they find out their having a girl.
Education is a key human right which is essential to the social, economic and cultural development and growth of a nation. It's the main function in ensuring the erosion of all other human rights. This learning process is attainable, in the developed world, for free - even though we're some of the wealthiest. However, poverty stricken nations are starved of this essential 'luxury'. Education is seen as a platform where children and adults can greaten themselves, rise from poverty and live a better life, yet it's a process which is not accessible to everyone.
There are volunteering projects around the world that are trying to provide impoverished children with an education. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a popular route volunteers follow to get involved, along with school construction projects and sports coaching. Frontier's, sports coaching in South Africa engages children from low income communities in a bid to keep them from a life of crime. Children who perform well on the project are selected for the 'centre of excellence' scheme and are given one-to-one teaching from volunteers and educational support. The volunteers act as life mentors as well as coaches; this gives the children positive role models to look up to. The projects aims are to try and help children reach further education and gain scholarships, an accomplishment they probably would not achieve if it wasn't for the programme. Education is a fundamental children's right and NGOs have recognised this; building projects and platforms to ensure children get what they're entitled too.
Human Rights Office is celebrating its 20th year on the 10th December, an incredible mile stone, in the prevention of the misconduct and mistreatment of humanity, and the acknowledgement of human rights. It still has a way to go in maintaining equality and non-discrimination, amongst others, but it succeeds in highlighting the injustices within our society.
Author Ed Hawes works for Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO with over 300 dedicated conservation, development and adventure projects worldwide. See more from projects and volunteer on Frontier's blog and the Frontier Official Facebook page.
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