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“All the business of war, and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavour to find out what you don’t know from what you do.” – Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington

"My dear. A lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears. "
- Violet in Downton Abbey

"By perseverance the snail reached the ark. "
- Charles Spurgeon

"Not all those who wander are lost."

05 mei 2013

Amnesty: Governments can no longer shirk responsibility to protect all human rights

The idea is simple: all people are born free and equal in dignity and rights. No exceptions. Yet, in the 65 years since the modern human rights movement was born from the ashes of World War II, some rights have been seen as more crucial.

Civil and political rights have been prioritized over economic, social and cultural rights. Governments have ignored their obligations to promote the right to education, health, housing, food and a living wage.

Numerous promises of overseas direct aid have been broken. Governments claim lack of resources and argue they are not responsible. They have allowed responsibility for helping those living in poverty to fall on charitable organizations, while continuing to invest in military assistance.

There is nothing inevitable about poverty, and income disparity is not just a matter of numbers. They are a consequence of laws, policies and practices of governments; an indicator of whether a state is committed to promoting equality. Those that reject the principle of equality do so knowing that they are placing individual lives at risk.

Vast numbers of people globally are denied their rights to adequate housing, food, water, sanitation, health, work and education due to lack of political will rather than lack of resources.
Every 90 seconds, a woman or girl dies over pregnancy related complications – complications that can be treated. Lack of investment in health care services and entrenched discriminatory attitudes towards women mean that countless women die – women who could have easily been saved.

Each day, thousands of people move to slums because they have no other options. In some cases they were forcibly evicted from their land. In other cases, the failure of the government to address environmental degradation means that they had to move to survive. On current trends, 1.4 billion people will live in slums by 2020.

It is impossible for people who are poor to be treated equally before the law and difficult for those who are ill and without access to healthcare to participate actively in society.

And yet, despite their neglect, these rights are enshrined in the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; a treaty that has been ratified by 160 states and has the same status under international law as other human rights – like the right to a fair trial and the right to free speech.

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