1). Compare and Contrast human rights as defined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights to the human rights defined in the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Persons (formerly, of Man).
Human rights as defined under the Universal Declaration on Human Rights are moral doctrines guaranteed to people in all countries of the World simply because they are human beings. These rights are intended to ensure that people everywhere live a decent life. Under The Universal Declaration on Human Rights of 1948, basic freedoms guaranteed have been categorized as follows:
Security Rights: These rights are meant to protect individuals from physical harm such as torture, murder and rape orchestrated by the state or any other entity.
Due Process Rights: They are meant to protect people against misuse of the justice system that may cause a miscarriage of justice such as detention without trial, excessive punishment and secret trials.
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Liberty Rights: These are rights meant to guarantee every individual the freedom to associate with others, express themselves, to move worship a god of their choice and the right to assemble.
Political Rights: These are meant to guarantee each person the right to participate in the political process through voting, the right to protest peacefully, and the right to serve as a public servant and to communicate.
Equality Rights: These rights protect individuals from discrimination of any kind, equal citizenship and equality of all citizens before the law.
Social Rights: They include the right of every individual to be protected against extreme poverty, universal right to education to all children and protection against starvation (Stanford Encyclopedia on Philosophy).
The American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Persons somewhat bears a resemblance to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. It guarantees every individual the right to life, equality before the law, the right to personal security, freedom to worship, dissemination, expression and the right to life. It however goes further to guarantee other rights and freedoms to its citizens such as the right to protection of personal reputation, honor, and privacy. It also guarantees everyone the right to start a family and its protection, right to health and well being including food, shelter and clothing. During pregnancy, all women all women and children have the right to receive care, protection and aid, it also guarantees every national the freedom to live in any part of the country and to move freely within the country. Everyone has a right to transmit correspondence, the right to receive free basic education, equal opportunity in education in accordance with merit and talent and the right to use the resources that the community can provide. This is to prepare the person to be a useful member of society and adequately raise their standard of living The people are also guaranteed the right to work under decent conditions and to receive fair remuneration so as to ensure that the person together with his family live a decent lifestyle.
Everyone has the right to social security so as to be protected from the ravages of disability that may incapacitate him or her thus hindering them from earning a living, unemployment, or old age. Everyone has the right to participate in the cultural life of the community and protection of artistic, literary or scientific inventions. All citizens are assured their rights to recreation and leisure time. The courts are also entitled to protect individuals incase their legal and constitutional rights have been infringed upon. The law guarantees every person the right to nationality it further protects that persons right to change it. Everyone has the right to be protected from arbitrary arrest and the right to present meaningful petitions to administrative authority. Every person is entitled to a fair public hearing and is presumed guilty until proven otherwise in a court of law. It also guarantees everyone the right to asylum in a foreign country (University of Minnesota).
At the same time this charter expects things from the individual such as the duty of the person to conduct and relate well with others. It is also everyone's duty to aid in taking care of his or her children and the duty of children to honor, aid and protect their parents when need arises. It is also the duty of every person to take part in the voting process when permitted by law. Every individual has a duty to respect and abide by the law of the land. It is also the duty of every person who is not physical incapacitated to serve his nation in a civil or military service. It is also everyone's duty to work according to his capacity in order to earn a living to the benefit of the community. It is everyone's duty to avoid participating in political activities of a foreign country (University of Minnesota).
2). Briefly analyze the role and responsibilities of the United Nations to promote and protect human rights in the Americas.
To promote and protect human rights in the America's the United Nations through its agencies such as the United Nations Development Program have worked to protect human rights for instance in Mexico where the construction of a hydro-electric dam that would have led to compulsory relocation of indigenous people. The agency came up to advocate for the process to be done as humanely as possible and with adequate compensation to those affected by the project. The United Nations also played a key role to advocate against discrimination against women (Macclancy, J. 2002).
The United Nations through the Organization of American States supports the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights whose main aim is to protect and also promote human rights in the member countries. The mandate of the commission is to among other things is to receive petitions regarding human rights violations among member countries and investigating the claims. It also publishes annual reports that give an indication on the human rights situation among the member states. Through periodic visits to member countries the commission assesses the general human rights conditions. The commission is also charged with the responsibility of making recommendations to the member states (Human Rights).
3). Briefly analyze the relevance and importance of the United Nations Charter to international human rights. Select the article that you believe is the most important to the promotion and protection of human rights
The United Nations Charter has promoted human rights the world over among member states. The Convention against torture for instance has gone along way in trying to reduce and eventually eradicate torture. This convention set up the United Nations Committee against Torture which defined torture as an intentionally inflicted suffering or pain which may be either physical or mental and whose aim is to punish or obtain information from the person.
It expects states to take deliberate legal measures to prevent torture and gives no justification whatsoever for torture. It also forbids the expulsion of a refugee or returning them to their country of origin. It requires states to punish perpetrators of torture and also train the police and military on how to prevent torture. It also requires the states to extradite its citizens who are accused of torture to face a competent foreign justice system whenever they are required to do so. It also forbids the states not to admit any confessions made by suspects while being tortured. Finally it entitles compensation from the state to victims of torture including medical expenses and incase the victim dies as a result of torture, the survivors receive payment (United Nations).
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