Founded in 2007, Blog Action Day brings together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages to blog about one important global topic on the same day. Past topics have included Water, Climate Change, Poverty, Food and the Power of We, with over 25,000 blogs taking part since 2007. This year, Blog Action Day is on October 16, 2013 and focuses on the topic Human Rights.
According to the United Nations, Human Rights are meant to ensure ‘that the dignity of everyone is properly and equally respected, that is, to ensure that a human being will be able to fully develop and use human qualities such as intelligence, talent and conscience and satisfy his or her spiritual and other needs’. I’m sure if I were to ask any person today if they believed in the need for and importance of Human Rights for all, they would say they did.
All of us want our rights. We demand them when we can, and that’s good too.
However, today I’d just like to focus on the aspect of how often we realize the real meaning of human rights for ALL.
I hear well-meaning people, in India, talking about the fact that their maids and drivers haven’t come to work – they’ve just stayed at home without notice. Or called in sick. Or informed us about a death in their family. I’m certain I’ve grumbled about the same thing at times too.
My question: Do our maids, drivers and other house help get a weekly off? Do they have privilege, casual and sick leave, as we do in our offices? What happens when they take the day off without notice? Do we give them a cut in their salary?
I will never forget the sight of a little girl, all of 7, carrying the school bag of a child of the same age, reaching him to the bus stand. I know of people who bring children from their villages and use them as house-help. Their lives may not be great in the village, and they may be treated well.
My question: Don’t poor children have equal rights to education and a chance to live a childhood free from work? Our quest for good bargains and cheaper goods is endless. How often do we stop to find out where these goods are manufactured. Our saving might come at a heavy price to some men, women and children working in unhealthy conditions for long hours and being poorly paid and exploited.
My question: Does the right to free and fair employment not extend to the factory workers because they’re poor, uneducated, unskilled?
Today I ask myself how often have I stood up for the rights of ALL:
When I see a child being bullied by teachers or other children?
When I hear someone talk in a discriminatory manner about someone else based on – race, gender, color, etc?
When I hear the stories of women and children who are sexually exploited?
When I know of someone being unfair to their employees?
When someone is refused entry or access to a religious place because of their sexual orientation, gender, caste?
Have I been the voice of the voiceless, the strength of the weak, the seeker of justice for the poor?
Until I have done all this, I can never truly say that I believe in human rights for all!
If you’ve written a post for Blog Action Day, you can add your link to the linky on Write Tribe. Read the posts of other bloggers there too. You’ll find here a list of actions you can take and activities you can participate in to make Human Rights a reality for all.