Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Whose rights ?


Politics decides who gets what, when and how. You may not like it but right now some form of Democratic Politics is the only game in town. A Democratic Socialist system is my preferred option and that needs a bit of defining but that for another day.

First sentence of The Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)is, “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”. This 1948 declaration had been proceeded by a variety of attempts over the centuries, Magna Carta 1215, Habeas Corpus Act 1679, Bill of Rights 1689, USA Constitution & Bill of Rights 1789. Many of these had serious shortcomings in terms of how various sections of society were treated differently, eg: slaves, females ,bastards & those without property

The 1948 UDHR was signed by the then 56 members of the United Nations, since then another 137 countries have signed up to it.  It reads as follows: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food clothing housing and medical care and necessary social services and the right to social security in the event of unemployment sickness disability widowhood old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control”.

In centuries gone by deprivation of various types were unavoidable, however in the 21st century there are sufficient economic, technological & administrative capacities to avoid severe poverty and its follow on consequences. However this is far from the case. When reading the following few statistics bear in mind what 193 member countries of the United Nations have signed up to

The figure following the “problem” is Millions of struggling fellow human beings .1) Income of $2.00 or less per day, 2,000. .2) Chronically Undernourished, 805. 3) Lacking adequate Shelter, 1,000. 4) No Safe Drinking Water, 740. 5) No Adequate Sanitation, 1,800. 6) No Electricity, 1,000 and 7) Over 14 year olds Illiterate, 780. All of these “problems” could be solved if funds were available where and as needed, assuming the political will existed to want proper solutions. A “helicopter” view of the size of the job confronting our politicians points fairly obviously to what is needed.

Current Global Household Income: The poorest 75% have 15%, the poorest 50% have 4.4% and the poorest 25% have 1.22% To raise the poorest 50% from having 4.4% up to having 7% would make a massive improvement and if this came entirely at the expense of the richest 5%, they would still be pulling in over 40% of Global Household Income. Just to help us imagine “how the other half” live, in todays press it was announced that Mr Dudley, CEO of BP is expecting a 20% wage increase from $16.4 Million up to $19.6 Million despite the company laying off over 4,000 people, generating an all time loss of $5.2 Billion and saw its share price fall 13.5%.

THE REALLY GOOD NEWS IS THAT AT THE AGM THIS AFTERNOON, 59% VOTED AGAINST THIS INCREASE. The bad news is that this vote is not binding on the BP Remuneration Committee.

About tryingtobefair

More than a little interested in how we can all make the community we live in a better place. "The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed" Gandhi. Let's all learn what's enough.
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