What Good Is A Human Rights Day?

Income inequality and mortality in 282 metropo...

Income inequality and mortality in 282 metropolitan areas of the United States. Mortality is correlated with both income and inequality. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The issue regarding human rights is more topical now as we see an increase in the rise of activism across  the world. There is an ever growing discontent particularly amongst the younger generation who feel disenfranchised. The rise in unemployment is quickly creating a divide that will have serious consequences for the present and future generation of youth in the United Kingdom and various other countries.  The oppressive regimes in regions such as the North of Africa are experiencing a resistance among the digitally connected youth who have common “perceptions and envy that can be galvanised and channeled by demagogic political or religious passions”. They  refuse to be silenced. There is a global awakening among the youth who feel they are being deprived of their socio-economic rights by governments who are not creating enabling environments that will help them become socially mobile.

One can not be blamed for questioning the point of having a day to celebrate the rights of humans, when the vast majority of people still leave in servitude. The lack of socio-economic rights such as the right to decent housing, right to proper education, right to health and adequate standard of living, renders the whole exercise of celebrating this day futile. We have of course, had milestones since the second world war when the League of Nations – which was replaced by the UN – failed to prevent Hitler from committing the atrocities that shocked the world. Global  inequality continues to exist in many disturbing forms .

There is a sense of urgency that needs to be injected into the policies that governments are putting in place to improve the prospects for present and future generations. Most of the worlds problems are a by product of economic inequality. World inequality between households has increased and will continue to increase. In America for instance, the richest 1% captured 93% of income gains in America in 2010.

According to George Monibot in his article for the Guardian, “In the UK, the money earned by the poorest tenth fell by 12% between 1999 and 2009, while the money made by the richest 10th rose by 37%. The Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality, climbed in this country from 26 in 1979 to 40 in 2009.” The budget unveiled by George Osborne which appears to favour the rich is questionable.

This is a worrying trend that can not be ignored. Failure to face reality by those in power will have serious consequences. There are clear signs that we are seeing a growing consciousness by young people the world over, demanding that inequalities in many spheres be it political, social or economical are dealt with. It is not an over statement to say that the awakening of the globally restless youth will persist in weakening institutions and states that thrive in sustaining existing inequalities.


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