Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Ignored Treaty That Makes America a Barbaric State

From Alternet:

This week marked the 65 th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was drafted by a commission of the United Nations that was chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt. The Convention became effective in 1951, the United States finally ratified it in 1988 and it was signed by President George H.W. Bush.

What would it be like if people in the United States knew they had these rights and demanded to have them realized? We believe it would be a very different world – the economy would be a more equitable with full employment, healthcare for all, no people without housing and more humane on every front. Instead, this week an annual report of Credit Suisse ranked the US as the most unequal of all advanced countries.

As a general guide for understanding human rights there are five principles that should be applied to every policy: universality, equity, transparency, accountability and participation. In a nutshell, universality means that policies apply to all people. Equity means that people have what they need in order to be at the same level as others. Participation means that people have input into the policies that affect their lives.

Harriet Tubman once said, “I freed a thousand slaves; I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Similarly, we have human rights and our rights are being violated every day, yet many are not aware of this.

Economic Inequality and Austerity

Wealth inequality has worsened under the Obama Presidency. This is remarkable because historically after an economic collapse, the wealth divide closes during the recovery phase. According to the 2013 report, “In the U.S., the bottom 90% of the population own only 24.6% of all the privately held wealth, whereas in most of the developed world, the bottom 90% own around 40%; so, the degree of wealth-concentration in the U.S. is extraordinary…”


Trade Agreements and the Federal Budget

The wealth divide is created by policy choices made by those in power. We can see how they rig the economy for their wealthy donors and big business interests, at the expense of local businesses, entrepreneurs, workers and the poor. Right now this economic rigging is playing out in the secret negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).


Fighting For Our Human Rights

Many in civil society are beginning to understand that human rights are not being respected. Our rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and illustrated in this graphic, such as the right to healthcare and other basic necessities, privacy and unrestricted travel, are being violated. It is up to us to organize and mobilize to demand that these rights are honored.


Every day, rights guaranteed by US laws as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are violated against the people of the United States and around the world. Let us recognize that these rights are our inalienable rights and that only we can ensure that we have them. They will not be given to us; we must take them and be indignant in our constant demand that they be respected.

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