Human Rights Issue
The demand for better human security and human rights is in higher demand now than ever before and the international community needs to undertake a new paradigm of human security. This is because security has continued to change since the advent of state security in the 17th Century. Today’s global trade, movement of goods and services are interlinked to the aspect of human security. Human beings as a race share a planet, a biosphere and exist because social fabric that put the different races, colors, religions, beliefs and backgrounds together. This is because the security and fundamental rights of a single member of the human community, security of a nation, a region or state is influenced by the decision of others. According to Doebbler (2006 p.12), “The objective of human security is to safeguard the vital core of all human lives from critical pervasive threats, in a way that is consistent with long-term human fulfillment”. This paper takes a comprehensive and critical analysis of human right at the international perspective and further looks on the improvements which have been made on the issue. I strongly believe that much of improvements have been made on human rights protection worldwide, however much of these improvements need to be made.
Human rights are an issue which has evolved throughout human history. These fundamental rights are intricately pegged on laws, customs and religion. According to Alston, and Vasak, (1982), “It was in ancient Greece where the concept of human rights began to take a greater meaning than the prevention of arbitrary persecution. Human rights became synonymous with natural rights, rights that spring from natural law”
Human right Definition
According to BussinessDictionary.com (2010), fundamental rights which humans have by the fact of being human, and which are neither created nor can be abrogated by any government. Supported by several international conventions and treaties(such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human rights in 1948), these include cultural, economic, and political rights, such as right to life, liberty, education and equality before law, and right of association, belief, free speech, information, religion, movement, and nationality. Promulgation of these rights is not binding on any country, but they serve as a standard of concern for people and form the basis of many modern national constitutions. Although they were defined first by the UK philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) as absolute moral claims or entitlements to life, liberty, and property, the best-known expression of human rights is in the US Declaration of Rights in 1776 which proclaims that “All men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent natural rights of which when they enter a society they cannot by a compact deprive or divest their posterity.”
Threats to Human rights and Security
There are numbers of challenges that make governments, organizations and the international community at large work and around the clock to ensure that security of mankind is at the centre stage of their operation. These challenges are also precipitated by a number of factors, for instance, global trade, political conflicts, and religion among others. These challenges include;
According to Kaldor (2007 p. 71), peace, justice, respect for human rights, and economic and social progress in an interlocking relationship was, and remains, the vision of the United Nations. Alas, it is a vision under challenge in a world of power disequilibria, of uneven quality of governance, of economic and social disparities, of contending value systems, and of shocking violations of human rights. The protection of human rights is at the heart of the Charter’s strategy of a world of peace grounded in the rule of law and economic and social progress.
To ensure that United nations achieve its daunting tasks of promoting global peace, human right and security is at the centre stage and without human rights and fundamental freedoms, it is impossible to attain durable human security. In this line, governments should come up with policies and methods of governance that protect and enhance the human security through the ultimate protection and respect to human right and freedom have they are entrenched in the main human right convention.
Belser, (2010 p. 37)argues that “Human security has different connotations for men and women. For women, gender-based violence is often engrained in local cultural and religious norms and is often tolerated, while physical violence in armed conflict is condemned by the international community.”
Human trafficking is an international issue that has violated human rights (Richmond, and Newman, 2001). It entails the human transportation from one location to the other without the victims’ knowledge, for the purposes of exploitation at their destined country. This emerging world phenomenon is a gross violation of human rights comparable to modern slavery. On the receiving end of human trafficking are mainly children and women who face sex exploitation from the perpetrators of these criminal acts. Apart form sex exploitation; the victims also face other forms of human right violations such as forced labor, selling off their sexual organs among other forms of violation. Due to frustrations the victims face, they can resort to begging for survival in a given foreign destination, and this may lead to adoption or faint marriages. Major international crime acts like trade in drug and illegal arms and ammunitions are the world’s largest international crimes and they are closely followed by international human trafficking. These forms of illegal trade are so lucrative that the global trends seem to increase instead of decreasing with current estimation of $44 billion per annum, for human trafficking.
It is due to these widespread illegalities that have prompted formulation of human rights legislations to protect the interests of the victims and enhance international relations between one or more countries, who could feel their citizens are targeted for human trafficking. In this essay, we are going to look at the in-depth analysis of human trafficking (women) and legislative measures set to curb this international crime act (Kaldor, 2007 p.7).
Meaning of Human Trafficking
“By 2003 an explosion in political, legislative and academic interest in the field of trafficking and smuggling of human beings in Europe was well underway.”[i] Human trafficking is an international concern that was expressed in the convention held by United Nations to combat Transnational Organized Crime. The main victims of human trafficking are women and children. The convention came up with two draft protocols: Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Person and preventing smugglers from carrying supplements. Trafficking involves forced sexual exploitation/prostitution in EU countries carried out by organized groups for the sake of getting hefty monetary rewards. According to Palermo Protocol, human trafficking refers to, “…the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation.”
Legislation against Human Trafficking and the need for human security
The main objective of the Palermo Protocol was to institute a legal framework that would curb human trafficking especially against children and women (Reich and Friman, 2007). This document is meant to protect and give assistance to any human trafficking victim amid promotion of international relations and cooperation. The Protocol gives mechanisms through which various countries can tackle the problem of human trafficking. One such mechanism is the provision of legislation under which countries that adopt its use can criminalize the act. The act of human trafficking is a criminal offence as stipulated in the Palermo Protocol and potential victims are liable to prosecution and eventual conviction if found guilty (MacKinnon, 2006 p.23). Besides legislation, the Protocol also takes preventive measures geared at curbing human trafficking. Such measures include establishment of policies and programs in addition to other ways deemed necessary in dealing with human trafficking.
Article 6 of the Palermo Protocol outlines the reasons for the protection of victims of trafficking by urging states to ensure privacy of human trafficking victims; for instance, the making of cases related to human trafficking private and confidential. Nations are also asked to provide avenues under which the victims of human trafficking are physically and psychologically rehabilitated. Such rehabilitation if possible should involve the help of non-governmental organizations, human rights activists, and other bodies that are appropriate in giving any form of aid. This is because the victims of human trafficking will at one point or the other need shelter, counseling, and access to information about legal rights and in language understandable to the victims. Nations that host human trafficking victims should make efforts of ensuring victims are safe and offered compensation for the physical, psychological, and other damages caused to them. However, the Protocol lacks firm action compelling states to take legal actions over the matter. In addition that, the Protocol emphases on curbing and preventing crimes rather than protecting the rights victims of human trafficking. UK is among the states that have agreed to the provisions of the Protocol and had yet to ratify it by the year 2005-06.
Secondly, besides the Palermo Protocol, measures have also been taken by the European Union to curb human trafficking. The efforts by the European Union follows the 2002 Framework Decision on Trafficking meant to strengthen the effort of the United Nations in matters relating to human trafficking. The Framework Decision on Trafficking aim was to interpret the provision of the United Nations to suit EU’s legislation and procedures of curbing crimes relating to human trafficking: sex exploitation and labor exploitation. The Framework Decision refers to human trafficking in the same terms as the Palermo Protocol and proposes to the EU bloc member states to institutes legal mechanisms for perpetrators of human trafficking through imposing of appropriate, proportionate, and dissuasive measures. Again in this provision, there are only measures to prosecute rather than protect the well being of the victims. Following this inadequacy, there was the Short Term Residence Permits; an EU Directive, to aid in prosecution of human traffickers. The Short Tern Residence Permit also provides avenues for the victims of trafficking to cooperate with states’ administrations in the prosecution of traffickers.
Poverty and War on Human rights and security
Poverty is posing a great threat to human security as well as global peace (Human Security centre, 2005 p. 6). This is because poverty promotes crime and irresponsible human behaviors which make it impossible to achieve peace and human security in a society. On the other hand, all kinds of war are not only threats to human peace but also to global development. In this regard any attempt to attain human security without adequately addressing poverty and war is bound to fail the quest to promote human security.
The importance of human security
Human rights and security is an integral point not only to development but also to humankind survival on earth ( Kaldor, 2007 p. 3). Without human security it will therefore mean that human being can just die or be killed at will and caprices of others. In this regard, all development, trade, technological inventions and improvements are all pegged on security of humankind and the protection of human rights as well as the right to enjoy all the fundamental freedoms.
The question of whether human rights will ever improve can now be answered. Based on the improved made on human right protection by many governments worldwide is a clear show that major improvements are being made not only to improve the human rights but also to improve security globally. Global peace will enhance trade and economic development which is great incentive to improvements of human rights.
Human security is an important aspect of human right and life that should be put before anything else. It is on this line that all governments, international organizations strive to ensure that all people are protected from all sorts of eventualities. Security and human right protection is important for development and peace in a country and therefore each individual should be protected against anything which might cause discomfort or harm a citizen of a given country. Governments in this regard, spend lots money to ensure that they keep up with the challenges that pose threats to human rights and security. Be it war, food insecurity, disease and many other tragedies all the available strategies should be applied to make everybody safe and enjoy his or fundamental rights.