Yesterday, December 10, was International Human Rights Day.
Sixty-nine years ago yesterday, this document was signed by 48 states including my beloved country.
The creation of the document was mainly a reaction (horrified, deeply saddened, remorseful, resolute) of the world to the atrocities that happened in World War II (which is just a sequel to World War I; just in case someone becomes interested in making a superhero-movie out of it — there’s your marketing strategy people.)
Jesus was probably the 1st (well-documented) human rights advocate. John the Baptist was also maybe a human rights advocate too; but we do not know that much about him — King Herod beheaded him upon the request of Salome in behalf of her mom Herodias whose marriage to Herod was criticized by John the Baptist as unlawful because Herodias was already married to Herod’s brother. Yeah, this was the soap opera during Antiquity.
I am not really sure about Gautama Buddha’s position on human rights; he was a proponent of The Noble Eightfold Path which emphasized a lot on doing the “right” things, but I bet he would relegate “human rights” into the background if it derailed the Eightfold Path.
As for Confucius — naah, definitely not a human rights advocate. Someone whose worldview emphasized believing in your parents (and other authorities) even after they are dead would not a human rights advocate make.
I will not say anything about the Prophet Mohammed at this point out of respect for my adoptive country. (But … note to myself: write an article about how lip-smackingly delicious forbidden sex can be, consensual sex of course, once you are out of Dune.)
In any case, the concept of human rights, and its subsequent adoption as a basis for human relations, changed the world as we know it. It’s much like the Eukaryote Revolution, but on a smaller scale.
Because of human rights, people do not have to worry about being killed arbitrarily — the law is supposed to protect them from that; which is why “murder” is a crime and the state is the only one with the authority doing the killing (ooops, this is still a muddlesome subject in human rights circles).
Human rights, supposedly, should prevent authoritarian regimes from having absolute power over their people.
Human rights made us recognize women’s rights (which are creatures who are also human, you know, even if they do not have a Y chromosome).
Human rights made us more sensitive to persons with disabilities (PWDs). So now, PWDs do not have to secure online appointment and can just walk-in to the Department of Foreign Affairs Office to secure a Philippine passport.
So there are many reasons to love International Human Rights Day … hence I wrote this blog post even if it is a day late.
On a side-note, related to my country’s present predicament (and maybe related to women’s rights? and state rights? and uhmmm s-e-x!!!? ehem there is such a things as sexual and reproductive health and rights or SRHR boys and girls) one of my favorite bloggers just said this, and I quote: “Saying ‘I love you’ to get a good lay is not right.” Wow … 🙂