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Human rights (Essay Sample)

I was to critically discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the human rights idea.I was required to use examples to justify my answers. source..
Name Professor Course Date Strengths and Weaknesses of the Human Rights Idea The concept of human rights has had an enormous and direct impact on the quality of human life worldwide. The human rights regime has helped to improve the lives of millions of people in the world, Millions have been subjected to labor, crimes against humanity, and cruel and degrading treatment. In the past decade, authoritarian political regimes have withheld political and civil liberties from billions of people across the world. The concept of human rights has a long history, but it is only in the 20th century that the international community has galvanized a regime to guard and protect human rights. The establishment of the United Nations has played a key role in codifying human rights into a universal regime of norms, institutions, and treaties. This paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the human rights idea. In the 20th and the 21st century, a global human rights regime has been developed. Governments have been compelled to promote and guard human rights abroad and domestically. Multilateral and international institutions have played a key role in consolidating the human rights idea (Archer, 21). A decentralized and dynamic network of civil societies is involved heavily in the effort of promoting human rights. The human rights idea has achieved remarkable success through implementation and institutionalization of different rights. The greatest progress has been achieved in response to crimes against humanity and mass atrocities. Even though great strides have been achieved, there are glaring inconsistencies in enforcement and implementation. The right to substantial public health has been strongly advocated for, and massive resources have been mobilized to implement the right (Evans, 7). The human rights to freedom from forced labor and slavery has been entrenched in national and international institutions. High-profile measures to fight against forced labor have been successful, and there are very low rates of forced labor (Hashimoto, 69). Several human-rights treaties and conventions have been formulated encouraging states to come up with binding human rights legislation in their statutes and constitutions. In spite of the successes, there are significant challenges facing the human rights concept. First and foremost, there are massive human rights under one umbrella. The right to healthcare and education, the freedom from racial and gender discrimination, and the freedom from torture and slavery are the only human rights in which progress has been achieved (Donnelly, 58). Nations are yet to agree on the importance of cultural, social, and economic rights versus political and civil rights. Governments usually assert the principle of sovereignty and refuse to adhere to international norms claiming that they contradict local social and cultural values (Eckel, 111). The strength of the human rights idea is that human rights accrue to everybody by virtue of being human. They are inalienable, equal, and universal. According to Evans, the human rights protection system has played a crucial role in ensuring that governments remain accountable to citizens (8). They have ensured that notions of respect, dignity, fairness, and justice are properly entrenched in the legal system. The right to vote has been used to institute regimes which care about security, equality, and liberty. The rights of religious, racial, and ethnic minorities and women have increased considerably (Alston and Ryan, 135). Systematic discrimination of women and other minority groups has been eliminated to a substantial level (Alston and Ryan, 136). The human rights framework has, therefore, succeeded in expanding civil and political liberties. Regimes with massive human rights abuses have been toppled by empowered citizens. The collapse of the Soviet Union was facilitated by the unwillingness of citizens in the Communist-bloc to continue accepting the systematic denial of human rights (Ife, 221). In Central and South America, repressive governments were toppled from power in the 1980s. In Africa, and some parts of Asia, democratization and liberalization has increased. In the post-cold world war era, commitment to human rights is a fundamental threshold of measuring the success of a regime (Gregg, 289). Violation of human rights weakens the international and national legitimacy of a government. Transnational, bilateral, and multilateral human rights procedures have been strengthened. The Global Fund to fight Malaria, Tuberculosis and Aids has promoted the rights to access health. It has bridged the economic and health gap created by preventable and catastrophic illnesses (Merry, 258). It involved partnerships between civil societies, charities, the private sector, and the United Nations. Contemporary slavery, human trafficking, forced labor, and child labor have also benefitted from human rights advocacy in the 21st century. The International Labor Organization has worked aggressively to address chronic forms of child labor and forced labor through preventive programs and conventions (Eckel, 113). Various countries have enacted legislation against forced labor and child labor in their statutes and constitutions. Non-Governmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, and states have worked together to address the issues of child labor, human trafficking, and contemporary slavery (Whelan, 289). Dominant countries such as the United States have refused to cooperate with other countries citing concerns that human rights may infringe on autonomy or harm business. Developing countries feel that Western countries use the human rights regime as a mechanism of furthering the neo-colonialism agenda (Alston and Ryan, 137). The greatest challenge is that even though human rights exist on paper, implementing them is difficult and problematic. Most of the worst human rights violators have not joined human rights institutions or ratified human rights law undermining the effectiveness of the human rights regime (Felice, 123). It is difficult to penalize those who neglect international obligations as the charter of the United Nations protects fundamental freedoms but also states that countries cannot interfere in the domestic affairs of each other (Gregg, 290). The utility of the measures used to implement human rights such as force or sanction, is debatable. At times, to end international conflicts, negotiators do not hold those who have violated human rights accountable. Moreover, developing nations do not have the capacity to protect human rights within their internal borders. The international community usually has to step in to promote protection of human rights in the countries. The intervention of the international community is often seen as a method of undermining the national sovereignty of developing countries (Hashimoto, 71). Intergovernmental organizations have played crucial roles in the advancement of political and civil rights. They have created an assortment of expert personnel, administrative support, and secretariats to implement and institutionalize human rights (Ife, 224). The United Nations is the central international organization mandated with the task of formulating international human right s norms and legitimizing implementation (Evans, 8). The number of intergovernmental organizations has grown exponentially. The primary human rights mechanisms include working groups, special representatives, special rapporteurs, committees of elected experts, the United Nations Human Rights Council, and United Nations Security Council actions (Powell and Jeffrey, 149). Hybrid courts in Cambodia and Sierra Leone, the international criminal court, and war crime tribunals in Rwanda and Yugoslavia have played a key role in contributing to the enforcement and development of human rights standards (Gregg, 292). The institutions and mechanisms have succeeded in offering technical advice to states on improvement of human rights, assessing the conducts of warring parties and states, and raising public consciousness and political will. Human rights implementation is often watered down by various setbacks. Powerful countries are not held accountable for violating human rights (Erman, 663). The United States, for instance, is a notorious human rights violator. Intergovernmental organizations and United Nations mechanisms have not succeeded in compelling the United States to stop subjecting Guantanamo Bay detainees to cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment. Even after massive international pressure, the United States did not reform its interrogation and detention policies (Donnelly, 64). Israel also withdrew from the Universal Periodic human rights review breaking the tradition of cooperation and collaboration. Cultural, social, and economic rights have been neglected yet they play a fundamental role in advancing the rights of marginalized groups and minorities (Merry, 260). The United Nations Security Council has massive power to take retributive actions against human rights violators. It can authorize use of force, mandate peacekeeping operations, and impose sanctions (Ife, 225). The Security Council enjoys a higher profile than all bodies and organs of the United Nations. Actions taken by the Security Council promote international pressure and attention on human rights violators. The Security Council intervenes when abuses of human rights pose a threat to international security and peace (Rasche, 192). The five permanent members of the Security Council are still divided along cold war lines. The United States, the United Kingdom, and France are the most active human rights advocates (Powell & Jeffrey, 150). Russia and China usually rally against human rights promotion. The problem with the Western Faction of The United States, the United Kingdom, and France is that even though they support human rights, they make decisions based on strategic ...
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