Sunday, December 19, 2004

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 23: The 1948 United Nations General Assembly proclamation of Universal Human Rights states that everyone should have the following:

1. The right to work
2. Free choice of employment
3. Just and favorable conditions of work
4. Protection against unemployment
5. Equal pay for equal work
6. A just and adequate wage to provide for the worker and his/her family an existence with human dignity.
7. Social protection to insure an adequate wage and human dignity
8. The right to form trade unions to protect their interest

I think that Thomas Jefferson would agree that given the realities of this culture, these rights could easily be labeled “certain unalienable rights.” I think that Jefferson might argue that “the lack of these rights would lead to the marginalizing of a significant segment of the population.” “This marginalized segment of the population, as a result of their job/financial situation cannot effectively participate in the democratic process.” If you can’t pay your rent you are not likely to be spending time writing your congressman. You will be trying get enough money to keep yourself from being throw into the street. Poor citizens with no hope and no dignity are not citizens who can truly be part of the process that shapes their futures.

So when we look at these eight rights from Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that seem to fit in our time as “certain unalienable rights”, do they fit into the popular concept or mental framework of what is thought to be “certain unalienable rights?” No! - these rights that should be central to the very foundation of our culture are rarely discussed and never the focus of political discussion.

2 Comments:

Blogger Hey Paul said...

I wonder--do rights #5 and #6 contradict each other? My coworkers and I ought to be paid the same regardless of our gender, religion, tenure and even level of education and experience--provided we are in fact performing the same duties. I would also affirm that we should be paid the same regardless of our familial status. Should my coworkers be paid more for the same job just because they have a family to support and I do not? Or is it their responisibility to seek out employment that meets their financial needs--prior to embarking on building a family, etc? In this way, right #6 would seem to contradict #5. Could you provide some sort of clarification.

11:13 PM  
Blogger Gindy said...

You have an interesting blog. I don't agree with a lot of what you say, but it is an interesting point of view. I'll have to check back.

10:20 PM  

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