Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Universal Rights?

I'd like you to ponder once again the question of which basic human rights (if any) are universal and should be the rights of every human being on earth.

It's a tricky question, especially since the U.S. led coalition invaded and now occupies Iraq.

One of my closest "liberal" friends who once strongly supported efforts to extend women's rights to oppressed countries like Iran, now is afraid to champion such causes. She is rightfully concerned that President Bush (or some future president) will take such public sentiment as a license to invade another country and engage in nation building.

Still, I ask you to consider if certain rights must be given to all people regardless of where they live. Regardless of country. Regardless of the religion practiced by the majority of the populace.

On the right of the main Wizard page I've paraphrased and republish a comment found on many web pages of those involved in the effort to secure protection and rights for the people of Darfur:

It's so simple really.....

Every human being on this earth deserves to wake up every day and know they have a roof over their head, enough food to sustain them, and no fear of displacement, torture, rape or death.

We need to aid the people of Sudan people in gaining principal ship of their own lives. We must advocate for these people until they can advocate for themselves.

We must do it swiftly or they will not get a chance.

Almost everyone agrees with this. Yet we have done a pitiful job in helping or protecting the people of Sudan. The cruelty continues unabated.

So, it does beg the second question. What should we do to insure these basic rights? At what point do we say that we must intervene?

What caused this line of thought this morning was the news of the latest restriction of rights in Iran. The government is preventing its citizens from accessing or viewing the popular video sharing site

Of course there are probably some reading here today who might say this is a blessing for the people of Iran.

From the
Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran has blocked access to the popular video-sharing Web site, and a media rights group warned Tuesday that Internet censorship in the Islamic state is on the rise.

Internet users who tried to call up the YouTube site Tuesday were met with the message, "On the basis of the Islamic Republic of Iran laws, access to this Web site is not authorized" which appears on numerous opposition and pornographic Web sites the government blocks.

It was not known how long the site had been on Iran's Web blacklist. The Paris-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders said YouTube had been blocked for the past five days.

Iran's Shiite cleric-run government regularly blocks opposition Web sites, including blogs, and the number of sites that bring up the "unauthorized" message has been increasing over the past year. Western news sites, however, are generally available.

Videos from the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and other Iranian opposition groups have been posted on, along with videos posted by individual Iranians critical of the regime. The site also has Iranian pop music videos, which are frowned upon by the religious leadership.

In its statement Tuesday, Reporters Without Borders warned that "censorship is now the rule rather than the exception" in Iran.

Certainly invasion of Iran because of YouTube censorship would be a dramatic over reaction.

But do the people of Iran have the right to freedom of Information?

Are there Universal Human Rights?

If so, are there Universal Human Obligations to provide those rights?





The Emerson Avenger said...

I think that the right to at least six hours of uninterrupted sleep should be a Universal Human Right. More later. . .

December 06, 2006 8:41 PM  
AuH2O said...

The only universal human rights are negative rights - free speech, free religion, right to bear arms, freedom from unreasonable search, ect. They are not reliant on someone providing you something. Any attempt at positive (universal) rights (a home, an education) leads to coercion/force and other nasty practices.

December 14, 2006 12:32 AM  

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