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Blog Action Day – Human Rights

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.

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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’. humanrights3 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? 

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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? 

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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.

28 Comments

  1. My Inner Chick My Inner Chick October 19, 2013

    Superb Post, Corinne.

    This is a fight we must fight every single day.

    Until we are ALL FREE, none of us are free.

    Xx
    My Inner Chick recently posted..Silence Is A KillerMy Profile

  2. Rum Punch Drunk Rum Punch Drunk October 19, 2013

    You’ve truly given us all, something to think about. Human rights affect all of us, but unfortunately the poor, the vulnerable and such like are not always in the position to enforce it. You poised some serious questions that should be taken on board every day of our life but on the flip-side, you sometimes need both sides to make a stand.

    For example – it’s very easy to stand up and fight the cause for another person, but that other person being abused, oppressed etc also needs to make a stand and fight for their rights too, otherwise you lose the power and strength in that cause. Hope I explained this OK.
    Very thought provoking post.
    Rum Punch Drunk recently posted..Author of Your Own DestructionMy Profile

  3. Aditi Mathur Aditi Mathur October 19, 2013

    Corinne, this post has had a big effect on me and I’m thinking, trying to find answers to the very pertinent questions you asked. You’ve done a great job of writing about the topic, well done! 🙂

  4. anu dev anu dev October 19, 2013

    A thought provoking post Corinne. The simple but significant questions. We do have the knowledge of human rights but do we implement them. Same like like “laws” we misuse “human rights” and twist n turn them for our own suitability. That needs to rectified.

  5. Poornima Poornima October 18, 2013

    A powerful post Corinne. It made me think of your questions and your last question asked to the reader. I am motivated by your post. Thank you for writing this just in the way you wrote it.
    Poornima recently posted..D is for Diwali, D is for DeclutterMy Profile

  6. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury October 18, 2013

    Superb post, Corinne. It aches my heart to see younger children carrying older children’s school bags. And it makes me sick in my stomach.

    Treating other human beings based on their economic status is disgusting. To assume that they don’t deserve to be treated equal is worse.

    Incidentally, there’s a large Defence colony near where we used to live, where maids are given Sundays and festivals off. I was thrilled to hear that. They are also treated decently.
    Vidya Sury recently posted..What I Learned About Life And Blogging From PrinceMy Profile

  7. Priya Priya October 18, 2013

    Well written Corrine!! I read a story just a few days back about a 50 years old woman torturing her 15 years old maid and this lady was an educated high-flying executive. Made me sick. I am absolutely opposed to having children as helpers at home, though unfortunately many people keep and prefer to have young kids at home to help.
    But yeah, situation is changing a bit maybe. My maids take Sunday off and I never deduct their salaries even if they have taken an adhoc leave. You ofcourse have to ensure it doesn’t become a habit by asking them why they did and I too complain about it. 🙂
    Priya recently posted..Separation Anxiety in an Older KidMy Profile

  8. Talya Tate Boerner Talya Tate Boerner October 18, 2013

    I didn’t know about Blog Action Day. A month or so ago I wrote a post about something horrible I witnessed. I inserted myself into the situation because I could not sit by and watch. I haven’t published it anywhere, just putting it on paper made me feel better. Maybe I’ll link it here. Thanks!

  9. B k chowla B k chowla October 18, 2013

    Human rights is a tool for misuse by any govt in power to settle its political goals
    B k chowla recently posted..CHITS & CHEATSMy Profile

  10. vishalbheeroo vishalbheeroo October 18, 2013

    Pertinent points raised, Corinne. It hurts when we discriminate against our domestic helps and subject them to torture. Don’t they have a right to live in a decent manner? What about the street urchin who begs near traffic signal? Her innocence is robbed yet we behave as if we don’t care.
    vishalbheeroo recently posted..Blog Action Day: Human Rights and FreedomMy Profile

  11. Rainbow Hues Rainbow Hues October 18, 2013

    Very pertinent questions raised. Human rights begin with us being humane first.
    Rainbow Hues recently posted..End Of A Storm – Chapter 5My Profile

  12. Alka Gurha Alka Gurha October 18, 2013

    The sad reality is that many will not be outraged by a 7 year old house help carrying a school bag of another 7 year old.

  13. Galen Pearl Galen Pearl October 18, 2013

    You have raised some provoking and even disturbing questions. We look past so many examples of inequality. We don’t want to see what is right in front of us sometimes.
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Baking BreadMy Profile

  14. Shefali Shefali October 18, 2013

    Being in the US and having to do every single thing myself makes me appreciate the help in India a lot more than I did before. It is amazing how much we take these things for granted when we have always had them.
    Every child deserves a fair shot at life. Every child deserves an education.Very well written post Corinne.
    Shefali recently posted..Are You ‘posed to do That?My Profile

  15. Akum Akum October 17, 2013

    This is something that has been haunting me for quite a while now. Its really sad to see how people treat their help, how they bring children from small villages to do house hold chores which these lazy fat rich people thinks they are doing something great. Giving them a small space in your house, two meals a day and some cheap clothes is not the definition of a good life. If we ask these people, they will argue that they are providing a better life. Which I disagree because a better life to me does not only include two meals a day, a roof and clothes. It should also include education and a chance to enjoy their childhood not cleaning and washing.
    Akum recently posted..CNN Premiere of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown –SicilyMy Profile

  16. Leah Leah October 17, 2013

    Great article Corinne…it made me think and realize how little I know about the goods I buy. Were they assembled by the oppressed? As a woman I know what it is like to be bullied, overlooked, underpaid, and exploited, but as a global citizen I still have much to learn. Sending love my sweet sister.
    Leah

  17. Martha Orlando Martha Orlando October 17, 2013

    This one really made me think, Corinne. Because of our Bill of Rights and strict work regulations in the States, we don’t see this kind of human rights violations on a day to day basis. Yet, sex-trafficking and slavery go on right under our noses, undercover.
    We should all stand up for the rights and the dignity of others.
    Beautifully expressed, my friend!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..Make Straight My PathsMy Profile

  18. Proactive Indian Proactive Indian October 17, 2013

    After reading your Blog Action Day post and mine, should we say, “Great minds think alike!” or should we say, “Fools seldom differ!”?
    Proactive Indian recently posted..Fortune favours the ethical!My Profile

  19. Usha Menon Usha Menon October 17, 2013

    A very thoughtful post. Corinne the points discussed by you are pertinent. Somewhere we are are also guilty. Even though I give all benefits to my maids,driver,and the mali I donot give them bonus. We have to look within.
    Usha Menon recently posted..Office HumourMy Profile

  20. Rachna Rachna October 17, 2013

    Very pertinent questions that each one of us needs to ask. I have often cribbed about my own maid who gets a weekly off. She also gets an off whether she informs or not, and I have never deducted her salary. Despite this, the lies and unsolicited leaves really get on my nerves. Oh yes, she gets bonuses and an annual leave too. But yes, there are so many people who really ill treat their helpers and pay their maids poorly, not to mention employing child labor. We are a far way off from treating everyone humanely.
    Rachna recently posted..When you get away!My Profile

  21. A Walk into the Woods A Walk into the Woods October 17, 2013

    Dear Corinne, What unique points of view you have put across..!! Very relevant, and the best was the first picture that explains human rights as much much more than what we know or understand it to be.
    Your final questions bring a sinking feeling in the heart, for I stand to be as guilty as you, in not being able to do all that, and in not being able to say that I believe in human rights for all too.
    Much Love!
    A Walk into the Woods recently posted..Blog Action Day: Be Human; and let all be humanMy Profile

  22. Pixie Pixie October 17, 2013

    Such pertinent questions Corinne!
    Its sad that the poor especially seem to have no proper rights at all!!
    And yes, every small bit helps. By giving a decent salary to our household help, by treating them with respect and dignity. Such small things go a long way.

  23. Jairam Mohan Jairam Mohan October 17, 2013

    This was such a powerful post conveying an important message to all its readers. I personally have been guilty of not having done enough to curb the menace of child labor in the many restaurants and dhabas that I have frequented in my life. But this post makes me think about how I can make a small difference to this situation.
    Jairam Mohan recently posted..A real heroMy Profile

  24. Mary Stephenson Mary Stephenson October 16, 2013

    Hi Corinne

    That is a tough thought provoking post. Equality for all and that will never happen. I wish it weren’t so and all we can do is our little part in the world to try and make a difference.

    Most of us have been on both sides of the fence on this issue. We know what it feels like to be denied and we also can see others being denied what should be their rights and human dignity.

    Passing love around and giving when we should to someone’s dignity and rights. We all have opportunities in this world to do stuff on our own end of wherever we live. The more people are aware and think about how they would feel if the tables were turned the better things can change.

    Mary
    Mary Stephenson recently posted..To Those Who Have Influenced MeMy Profile

  25. Kathy Kathy October 16, 2013

    It shouldn’t matter if you are poor. Everyone deserves time off work. Every child deserves to be educated regardless how much money their parents have. Their rights should be kept and exercised. Good thought provoking questions. ♥
    Kathy recently posted..Blog Action Day: We Are All the SameMy Profile

  26. Kalpana Solsi Kalpana Solsi October 16, 2013

    A very pertinent question is raised in your post Corinne about the rights of our maids,drivers and sweepers who we feel do not need to take a weekly off as we would be inconvenienced but raise our voices when an employees is made to work on a Sunday.

  27. Ruchira Ruchira October 16, 2013

    I agree on all your basic yet heart rendering questions, Corinne.

    we all are the same under the skin then, why not implement these man-made rights which are actually super cool but are hardly walked upon!
    inspiring read!
    Ruchira recently posted..Man-Made RightsMy Profile

  28. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg October 16, 2013

    Thought provoking, post Corinne! The question, “Have I been the voice of the voiceless, the strength of the weak, the seeker of justice for the poor? !”… I believe, we all need to ask ourselves this time and again.
    Thanks a lot for sharing my post here.
    Shilpa Garg recently posted..Human RightsMy Profile

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