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Human Rights Through the Legal Lens

United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence: United for Human

United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence: United for Human

This video was a thought-provoking and informative video that enlightened me on the evolution of human rights over time. It showed how we have come a long way from only believing that certain people in our world should have human rights - to now generally accepting that they are rights that everyone naturally has at birth. The evolution of the laws regarding human rights has also changed over time. From codes written on clay to a charter of the United Nations, human rights in the eyes of the law is a term that is constantly changing and expanding. In order for us to understand what laws we need to make now to protect human rights, we have to understand how the laws of the past have managed and failed to protect people. Will any new laws we create liberate some of the millions of slaves in this world? Or will legislation of this sort be quashed by tyrannical men like Hitler and Napoleon?

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Human Rights Advocacy at Work: An Introduction, part 1 of 7

Human Rights Advocacy at Work: An Introduction, part 1 of 7

In the first video I left off with two questions that served as a cliff-hanger. This video answers those two questions by saying how advocacy groups, such as the Human Rights Watch (HRW), can actually pressure these actors in power to respect human dignity and comply with international law. They also document incidents and publicize them through the mainstream media to hold the party that is in power responsible. To accomplish this the HRW follows a methodology of IEC: Investigate, Expose, and Change. This group does extensive documentation by collecting reports from multitudes of people in order to see to what extent Human rights laws are being followed. Their strategy focuses greatly on legislative reform. However if laws are suitable but are just not being enforced, their strategy will be aimed more towards filling those gaps. Even during wartime the HRW can convince the international community not to send weapons to countries that are purposely killing civilians or using them as human shields. Establishing international conditions is one thing, but setting the example that governments must comply with these laws is how this problem is truly solved through the legal lens.

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Child Labor in China

Child Labor in China

This video explores the many ways in which employers violate the human rights of the children they employ. We can see kids that are forced to pass around razor sharp knives in order to perform their work. Over 77 million children in Asia and the Pacific are forced to work. These children often work for 20 hours a day, which is a violation of Article 24 of the United Nations Human Rights Resolution which states that everyone has the right to rest, and leisure, including reasonable limitations of working hours and periodic holidays with pay. Many of these children are often whipped and beaten by their bosses, which in itself is another human rights violation. Also Article 25 of the Resolution states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family. When these employers require the children to sleep in junkyards or janitorial closets, they are blatantly disregarding this Article. This video was relevant to answering the overarching question for two reasons. First it shows how employers can easily hide from the legal lens of a government when economic conditions for surrounding inhabitants are so impoverished and desperate. Second, it shows how human rights are continually violated today even when so much has been done to combat it. In the end this video shows how companies like Nike and GAP encourage the proliferation of violating human rights by selling clothes that were manufactured by children. At this point we can see that looking at and enforcing human rights through an economic lens is another option and probably the better lens to look through when combating this horrific problem.

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