5 pages/≈1375 words
Literature & Language
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Essay Sample)
This paper aims to establish the connection between the ideas of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and democracy. source..
Student’s name Instructor’s name Class name Date What connections do you see between the ideas of UDHR and Democracy? The ideas presented by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) seek to give all the fundamental right to live a comfortable life without discrimination. The ideas in UDHR capture several aspects of humanity such as education, health, marriage, and politics. Democracy is entrenched in political rhetoric because it concerns representation of the masses. The proclamation of the UDHR by member states of the United Nations 65 years ago did not guarantee enjoyment of rights by all humanity. Today there are several countries around the world that do not practice democracy and the other ideas presented in the UDHR. This paper aims to establish the connection between the ideas of UDHR and democracy. The paper discusses literature that includes speeches by United States politicians who uphold the concept of democracy. The United States is the most vocal in advocating democracy not just among its territories but also in other countries of the world. The UDHR states, “Everybody has a right of opinions and expression (Article 19).” This is the first step towards democracy. In non-democratic states, the right to give opinion contrary to the one held by the ruling authority is prohibited. Human beings are intellectual beings who have the ability to think. The thought held by an individual may be different from the thoughts held by the majority or even the rulers. The UDHR and democracy both hold that the minority ought to be heard in the society even though they may not have their way. The problem with democracy is entrenched in human behavior. The fact that human beings have divergent views and opinions make it difficult for the rulers to have their way when there are subjects who hold different views. Man’s nature is to be selfish and expect things to go their own way as thus for many years democracy proves to be difficult to practice in some parts of the world. Kaplan argues that the fact that democracy works in the United States does not make it an ideal model of governance. This is because leaders who gain power through democratic elections turn out to be depots in an attempt to sustain their rule. Kaplan gives examples of rulers such as Hitler and Mussolini who came from established democracies but ended up being dictators. The UDHR is explicit in defining the right of democracy it states “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government” (article 21, part 3). Three years before the adoption of the UDHR, during a State of the Union Address, President Roosevelt Franklin of the United states said that the national policies were all through “an impressive expression of the public will”(3). The UDHR seems to echo the voice of the United States, that strongly believes in the participation of the public in government affairs. The Greek developed the spirit of democracy several centuries ago, but the Americans have taken up the burden of preaching it to the world. As early as 1941, US president Roosevelt stated that the country could use its resources to promote democracy and fight the threat posed by dictators across the world. President Obama made a similar statement in 2013 during his Second inauguration address. Obama stated that the United States will “support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East… (3)”. The United States believes that installing democratic governments around that the world is a way of giving freedom to the people. The UDHR equates democracy to a “right” which everybody is supposed to enjoy. The United States also interfere with other countries affairs in the spirit of promoting fundamental human rights. The United Nations general assembly is a meeting of all the head of states from the member countries. This makes that UDHR a document worthy of consideration by all the members of the United Nations. Most of the rights mentioned in the documents are fundamental, but the inclusion of democracy as a universal human right is questionable. This is because the many countries have prospered in the absences of democracy. Kaplan argues this position by pointing out to countries that failed because of democracy. For example in Rwanda, democracy brought about division along tribal lines that culminated in the genocide in 1994(4). He also mentions South Africa as an example of a country that is deteriorating because of democracy (5). The question to ponder is whether the UDHR advocates for a system that is not suitable globally. If democracy is doing well in the United States, it should not automatically work the same way in other countries where the cultural system is different. The UDHR ought to focus on rights, which are common to humanity. Kaplan also points out that religion, which is for many years held the morality of the world together failed to withstand the test of time. The Roman Catholic imposed its rule in most parts of Europe. Many believed that religious authority when used, as a basis of leadership was ideal. This was not the case because the religious authority encouraged bigotry. Today democracy appears to be the idea rule for the civilized world, but Kaplan argues that it may also be for a limited time (1). The United States invaded Iraq and Afghanistan to remove the Islamic government that allegedly promoted terrorism. The United States also mentioned that the war was part of a liberation effort to free the citizens of the two countries from oppressive dictatorship rule. The fact is there is a cultural and ideological difference between the west and the east. For example, the Middle East countries consist of Islamic states that promote strict Islamic laws in governance. Europe and the United States consist of majority Christians who perceive humanity as free from oppression. These differences make it difficult the practice of democracy as part of universal human rights. While in some cultures, it is okay to be independent in mind and opinion, in others, it is required that the authority be feared. United States has strong roots in democracy since the formative stage of the country. The America revolution brought the states together to fight a common enemy. The leadership of the country comprised of people’s representatives from the different states of America. This fo...
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