You Have the Right To…

wood hammer court balance

By Emmy McKirgan

You have the right to party. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to be an attorney or to an attorney? Hmmm there are so many rights we have heard, but which ones are misused? We need to be more engaged in human rights issues, knowing what those rights are and what days can be utilized to create public awareness.

I want to be more involved in what is going on around the world, the good that is going on, the gains we have made and the innovation that has occurred because of people who are willing to fight for freedoms and what is right. To fight for the truth and for spreading awareness.

Writing for PHCE has given me the opportunity to be able to dig deeper into issues that affect us as a human race: topics that challenge opinions, actions and reactions. One such topic is the Universal Human Rights Day that is just around the corner.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted Dec 10, 1948 as the official day to observe International Human Rights Day. This document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has been heard and read many times. Even watching your favourite crime tv show you will hear the employment of the phrase ” inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled {to as a human being} regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has 30 laws that are intrinsic to our way of life. Each of the articles (laws) proclaims the importance of what we, as humans, value and how we can get along with others. The laws are for all people! They are an unprejudiced way of showing impartiality to all, without bias or preconceived ideas. Do you know what those rights are? Comment below.

Some of my favourites are below. Let me know what your favourite human right is and why. Comment below.

Article 11
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. “

Crime dramas are #1 on many viewing platforms. I get totally engrossed watching shows pertaining to the law and so do many other people. People who obey the law, those that break it and the consequences of their choices. It’s distressing to see justice not administered properly: when the system is abused and a scapegoat is designated. The police need to find a killer and they identify someone who wasn’t even at the scene, such as referenced by the cases on Innocence Files. Perhaps it’s racial profiling or being at the wrong place at the wrong time – but whatever the reason the outcome is not fair-minded.

It’s a strong “belief” or expectation that our judicial system would accord this person a fair trial – even if they had been arrested wrongly, they would be found innocent in the court system. It should be an obligation that our system catches and punishes the criminal and not the innocent. I value the law and feel without laws our lives would be full of chaos and anarchy. I am glad that the criminal system is there to uphold the law, that there is a process that needs to be adhered to, it’s not just someone’s’ emotions making decisions that day, that will lead to a guilty or innocent verdict. However, there needs to be more ethics involved in the court system.

Article 18 : “Everyone has the right to freedom of
thought, conscience and religion; this
right includes freedom to change his
religion or belief, and freedom, either
alone or in community with others and
in public or private, to manifest his
religion or belief in teaching, practice,
worship and observance.

Everyone should be able to make their own choice as to what they want to believe. While my beliefs may not agree with yours, I can still be respectful of your beliefs. Not every place in the world has this freedom. Many countries do not allow worship or observance of your beliefs. There may be persecution for your beliefs and even consequences of your participation in worship with a community of believers. We’ve all heard the terrible atrocities that occur from a government, group of people or opposing religion, who oppress the people and do not allow the practise of religious freedoms.

Article 23

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for
equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right
to just and favourable remuneration
ensuring for himself and his family an
existence worthy of human dignity, and
supplemented, if necessary, by other
means of social protection.

Another article in the UDHR states that we should be able to earn a living and get paid a fair wage. There is still a disparity between the earnings of male vs female employees. This has gotten better over the years but is still not equal.

Here, in Canada, we go to work and get paid what is owed us. We are very fortunate to have not only these inalienable rights to protect us but also the Federal labour standards.

Canada is # 21 on the list of average income  around the world at $46,370 annually compared to the last place #78, Democratic Republic of the Congo at $520 annually. Yes, you read that correctly it takes a year for a person in the Congo to make $520! The idea that working for a hard day’s wage and then not getting paid or getting paid so poorly – is reprehensible! How can a “boss” allow a person to work hard and then withhold payment?

These are common occurrences in many countries around the world. There are shows depicting this unfair treatment and shedding light on the hidden secrets, such as The Dark Side of Chocolate. We can’t stop till there is no such thing as child labour, slavery and manipulation for those who work and yet never get paid. With awareness there have been some changes but not enough! There is still much to be done!

Thanks for reading!

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“Consequently, faith comes from hearing
the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
~ Romans 10:17

What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with the ideas presented above?

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