Too many emails come my way asking for money towards some human right.
Don’t get me wrong: I love human rights. I believe that humans have rights, and that they are wonderful and worth protecting. I just don’t think that cable television counts.
Here are some lesser-known human rights I’ve heard about lately:
- High-speed internet
- Higher education
- A cell phone
- Breast pumps in the office (in a separate, cozier room than the bathroom)
- Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte
Okay just kidding on that last one.
I typically (and subconsciously) draw the line on a human right at anything a wealthy friend of mine does not have and yet thrives without anyway. But recently I’ve come to terms with how pathetic that definition is.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlines a long list of rights, including the right to own property, marry and not be tortured. The UN adopted it in 1948 in response to the atrocities of WWII. Some parts sound like cut-and-pasted excerpts from the United States’ Bill of Rights – and parts of it don’t: social security, for example; and compulsory, free elementary education.
Which leads me to ask you all:
What do you think makes something a human right? Do you think we misuse the term today?
Perhaps more importantly, what is our obligation in protecting a human right?
I’m really interested in your answers. I’d like to feel more confident in my own definition moving forward. Thanks for your help!