Be the Evidence Project

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Let Your Voice Be Heard and Echoed! Post on this Public Forum on Human Rights and Social Justice Isses

BLOGGING: PUBLIC ADVOCACY -- LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD AND ECHOED. Using the course human rights and social justice public forum blog , identify an issue that you find compelling (it could be a an existing one or a new one you have uncovered) and post an entry to the Public forum blog, 'let your voice be heard and echoed'. The purpose of your posting is to help others gain awareness of human rights issues in everyday life.

Include in your blog postings weblinks to articles, photos, and videos. Find the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are relevant to your issue and the article number(s) and brief description (A26-Right to Education).

Post your comments below.


  1. My boyfriend and I travelled to Boston this weekend for a get-away. We were excited to spend time together, get to know the area in which we were staying, and enjoy the life that we work hard for every day. The highlight of the trip however was not the great hotel, delicious dinner, fantastic shopping, nor the exciting was something of much greater importance.
    Juxtaposed against the baroque architecture of a cathedral, I witnessed something more beautiful than the backdrop. The women priests of the church had set up what I gathered was a typical Sunday outreach for the homeless of Boston. They had juice, breakfast, and coffee right outside on the sidewalk. People from all walks of life gathered together to enjoy the day and as we walked by the women priests extended their hands to each person, looked them straight in the eye and sincerely said, "Peace be with you".
    I stopped and stared, not because I was curious or wanted to experience something outside of my everyday life, but because I was so touched by the true outreach of the church. It filled my heart with joy as one woman announced that the typical Tuesday night meeting would be held on Wednesday. This meant to me that the outreach continues. That these women and communicants are truly following their faith and helping others, not simply by providing food and beverage, but by holding their hands and making sure they know that they are human too and we all share in this world.
    This is the perfect portrayal of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
    It also made me think of Article 25: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family..."
    As a person who is drawn to helping others and acting as an ambassador for peace in our world (as best as I can) I gravitate towards music that speaks to that part of me. Today's experience in Boston reminded me of one of my favorite musicians, Michael Franti, who has several organizations set up to (essentially) defend the natural rights of people around the world. The websites,, are all fantastic resources of what people out there are doing on a large scale to help others.
    The video by Michael Franti and Spearhead for their song, "Hey World (Don't Give Up)" passionately illustrates the need for humans to embrace one another and protect their brothers and sisters. Please take a look at the video!

  2. An issue that continues to be controversial for many is that of Gay Marriage. I mean, it's really not that deep people and I'm not sure why so many individuals put so much energy into denying the right for same sex couples to marry.

    Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." Why would anyone want to deny the right of two people of the same sex, who love one another, to marry each other?

  3. As the mother of two young girls, I am constantly concerned for their safety and well being. Examining some of the atrocities that are happening to girls, and women in the world forces me look at my daughters in utter shock and wonder how these things could happen to girls just like my own.

    While listening to the NPR radio interview by Michel Martin with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author, Sheryl Wudunn, I was astounded by the statistics that were presented regarding women, and slave trafficking in the world, and in the United States. According to demographers, there are an estimated 60-100 missing women in the world. Those women are someone's mother, sister, aunt, wife, and daughter.

    The fact that I realized that I had little awareness of the magnitude of the human trafficking and sex slave industry prompted me to research these issues.
    As I surfed the Internet, I found a wealth of information, statistics, and disturbing photos all related to Article 4 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

    I found a website,, to be a very informative, progressive site providing information about the government's role, the action taking place globally, and how to get involved to make a difference.

    The news story covered by NBC this year called, "Sex Slavery in America/One Girl's told the story of girls being trafficked from Honduras to Houston with the promise of legitimate jobs in America, and then being forced into sex slavery with the threat of violence to themselves and their families. The police investigator in the Houston are estimates that there are at least a few hundred sex slaves in just his small jurisdiction.

    Lastly, I discovered an article that hit very close to home about girls being trafficked within the United States, and forced into sex slavery. "The sex slaves next door - US News - Enslaved in America -", is a story that was covered in March of this year that told the story of girls and women living in brothels around the country in suburban neighborhoods.

    I hope that this information will spark interest in others to become aware, and possible take action to begin to save these women and girls from a life of slavery.

  4. SWK6050 Human Rights and Social Justice
    Jennifer Pratt-Module 3

    There is currently a crisis going on in society that is often overlooked and minimized. Domestic Violence is a serious and cyclical/perpetual violation of human rights that occurs every day in every city, state, and country around the world. Most often women in poverty are targeted and experience higher rates of intimate partner violence. This continues to marginalize victimized women in poverty as they often become homeless and require public assistance. Women that are victims of domestic violence often suffer from depression and suicide attempts at a higher rate. Often women who experienced abuse in their childhood home enter into abusive relationships as teens and adults. It is often asked “Why do women stay”, which is an example of the Blame the Victim approach. It does not support, build up self-esteem or empower women, but fosters the guilt and depression battered women experience. Women who are victims of domestic violence are continually oppressed as they are prevented from accessing opportunities to for self development and advancement. (Mullaly, 2010)
    Domestic violence is a serious problem where in the human rights of women are violated and denied every day. This violence is a violation of several Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 3 states that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. Domestic Violence clearly illustrates how this is violated in the sense that the life of battered women is not protected as her security of person is threatened every day. Additionally, Article 4 stated that No one shall be held in slavery or servitude, this denial of rights is also demonstrated in the life of battered women because she is often held as a slave in her own home due to threats made by her batterer to her life. Article 5 describes that No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Victims of domestic violence are often battered as a form of punishment that allows the batterer to remain in control. Article 6 states that everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law. Statistics show that orders of protection are often violated and numerous charges are dismissed each year. Victims of domestic violence often do not come forward due to fear that law enforcement agencies will be unable to protect them.

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  6. I work with schizophrenic adults and the local police know the type of facility it is due to having to call them when residents are having a break down. Two months ago a resident was held up by gun point. When we called to report it the police came out to the facility which is a regular house in a residential neighborhood. They said they could not fill a report because the complainant was not reliable, meaning he was a schizophrenic adult. This was an unjust situation and saddens me.

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  8. Solitary Confinement & its Relevance to the UDHR

    Though I feel it is implied in my post, Article 5 (prohibition against torture, cruel and inhuman treatment/punishment) specifically addresses the use of solitary confinement, Article 10 (fair and impartial hearing by independent tribunal) may also apply in terms of the injustice that may exist in correctional disciplinary hearings and other administrative processes that lead to this form of confinement. This is apparent in those cases where individuals have spent 12-30 years under such conditions. As the 14th amendment allows for the economic exploitation of the incarcerated in the form of prison labor I would argue that Article 4 (prohibition of slavery)is also applicable.

  9. Solitary Confinement-America's Guantanamo

    On September 26, 2011, over 6,600 individuals incarcerated at Pelican Bay and other prisons operated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reinstated a hunger strike, that originally began in July, to protest cruel, inhumane and torturous conditions. Among the five core demands made by the protestors, was the elimination of the use of solitary confinement as recommended by the U.S. Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons.( (http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.

    It is estimated that there are over 20,000 inmates in state and federal "Super-Max" prisons throughout America who are subjected to up t 23 hours confinement a day;with some detentions lasting decades. When daily disciplinary actions where solitary confinement is ordered, the number of inmates could be between 50-80,000. So egregious is the use of solitary confinement that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a Non-governmental organization (NGO) submitted a statement to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UN) citing widespread violations of human rights in America's Prison system. ( In addition to the ACLU, a myriad of organizations, advocacy groups, social scientist and mental health practitioners have documented and testified to the adverse affects of long-term isolation and confinement; including negative physiological and psychological reactions which can cause irreparable harm (

    An analysis of U.S. policy regarding the use of solitary confinement on Prisoners reveals a paradoxical interpretation and application of international and constitutional law that has resulted in human rights violations of almost 100,000 of its citizens. Irreverence to a commitment to develop a human rights culture is reflected in the reservations lodged when U.S. representatives "conditionally" ratified U.N. initiatives including the: International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR 1992), the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Covenant Against Torture)and, the American Convention on Human/Organization of America States. In these cases the United States the United States limited its commitment to human rights to not extend beyond judicial and legislative interpretations of the 5th, 8th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. This allowed for national policy and court decisions to disallow any accountability in terms of internationally agreed upon standards of human rights and social justice (

    It is also critical for social justice workers to be receptive to the discourses specific to this issue and in the voices of the victims of these policies that adversely affect human beings. Two excellent resources are a radio documentary entitled "Survivors: Solitary Confinement in America's Prisons" ( and "Solitary Confinement Parts 1,2,3 &4 (

    Social justice workers concerned with the plight of incarcerated persons, their families and communities, should include interventions and other strategies in their practice to create a counter-discourse in an effort to expose and deconstruct the systemic oppression that has led to America operating a prison industrial complex housing over 2.5 million people. Absent social justice focused approaches to this travesty, we will continue to be confronted by the multitude of social adjustment and psychological problems experienced by the 1,600 men and women returning from prison every day in America.

  10. An issue which I truly find compelling is that of Partial Birth/ Late term abortions. I have my own views on abortion in general, but I will stick to this type of abortion because I believe that it’s so incredibly inhumane and unjust, and I have a hard time finding excuses as to why it might be a debatable in the least sense. Now I do need to warn you about the graphic nature of this blog and the links herein. But I feel that the truth is necessary if I really wish for my “voice to be heard and echoed”.
    First off I want to clear up the idea that late term abortions do not take place anymore in developed countries. This is false. These abortions happen all over the world including in the present day United States. Usually, proponents of partial birth abortions claim that the procedure takes place because the baby has been determined to be very disabled in his/her future and/or the baby will be extremely dangerous for the mother to birth. But even if so, isn’t the baby human? At this stage (20 weeks and on), the baby is a baby with fingers, toes, a heartbeat, a brain, internal organs, and so on. Should the baby not be entitled to life (Article 3) as a human being?
    Here is a video showing the development of a baby during 15-20 weeks into pregnancy:

    Brenda Pratt Shafer was a pro choice nurse, prior to assisting with late term abortions. Please read her story for an eye witness explanation on how these procedures are performed
    The following is a summary of the procedure taken from
    The Partial Birth Abortion Procedure
    Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby's leg with forceps.
    The baby's leg is pulled out into the birth canal.
    The abortionist delivers the baby's entire body, except for the head.
    The abortionist jams scissors into the baby's skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the hole...
    The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The child's brains are sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed.

    Partial birth abortions have been banned by the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which was also upheld in 2007. Live Birth abortions are illegal due to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. But again, these procedures are still performed due to multiple loopholes in the laws as well as a lack of consequences included in the laws for performing the abortions. Here’s a link to a story about one such practitioner who continued to perform the procedures

    Now I believe that it’s also a moot point to state that these abortions are such a small percentage of abortions or they only take place when the mother is severely at risk. All of this just sounds like justification of murder to me.


    Sad that House Republicans are paying a private law firm $1.5 million dollars to defend a law barring same sex marriages.

    This week the repeal of gays serving in the military under the landmark don’t ask, don’t tell law was snuffed. Even the possibility of beginning a debate was thwarted by the Republican Party who confabulated to deny vote under the premise that government spending and tax cuts needed first priority. Beyond the fact that hetero sexism is a socially constructed reality, it is the statements associated with the repudiation that caused me to reflect on the manner in which oppression is perpetuated in our society. For almost two decades we as a country have sent the message that “you can die for your country, but don’t do it if you’re gay.” In just one segment of the morning news I witnessed how social legitimacy was applied to the repeal of the ban by quoting a survey conducted of Marine soldiers. It was stated that 60% of those polled allegedly felt that a lift of the ban would “affect the unit’s ability to fight in the battlefield.” Other forms of anti-repeal rhetoric included allegations that morale and cohesiveness would decline in the armed forces and that “many soldiers will leave in droves.” Those who engage in this type of propaganda should research the statistics and polls of how many soldiers left the famed battles led by Alexander the Great. The infamous King of Macedonia carried homosexual relations with at least two lovers in his lifetime, Hephaestion (the true love of his life) and Bagoas all while he conquered the entire Persian Empire and created a massive empire that stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River. These statements made via the most powerful method of mass media, television, is a deliberate attempt at rallying, if not inciting, those who are socially unaware of the oppression and marginalization tactics employed by the dominant culture for the reification of hetero sexism.
    In addition, Arizona (R) Sen. John McCain stated that to lift the ban would “undermine safety and order.” What exactly does that mean? Currently it is speculated that there are approximately 60,000 closeted gays in the armed forces serving this country. I have yet to see the statistics on how many acts of violence or impropriety, including sexual assaults, has been committed by gays in the military. What I do gather from McCain’s words is a prediction that heterosexual soldiers are unable to conduct themselves professionally without targeting their openly gay counterparts. One must ponder, is this the safety and order that will cease to exist? Again, if we look at Alexander the Great for a guiding example, he repudiated sexual relations with children and treated prisoners of war, including some of the most beautiful women he had ever seen, humanely, not as objects for sex or abuse. Can we say Abu Ghraib?

    Our Universal Declaration of Human Rights states Article-1 All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…not only is the reluctance to lift the ban an infringement of this most basic of human rights, but our soldiers have committed atrocious transgressions against the human rights themselves, as depicted in this photo where clearly Article 5 No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” was disregarded.
    As for McCain, in Spanish we have a saying “Do not preach morale in your underwear” as to say “watch your words as they may appear hypocritical in light of your own behavior.” The media describes McCain as a “self-centered womanizer who left his crippled wife to play the field” finally trading her for a Rodeo beauty queen (Cindy McCain). ( I will not be placing much value on his advice about what is moral, safe and orderly in his campaign to perpetuate oppression of those who failed to conform to socially constructed views of human sexuality.

  13. Article #4 of the UDHR: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”
    Human trafficking is a subject that occupies my thoughts quite regularly and I believe there is not nearly enough awareness on this topic. I started my research on human trafficking two years ago when I watched a movie called “Trade” in one of my undergraduate classes. The movie was fiction but is very much based on true events that happen all the time, very close to home. This movie changed my outlook on the world forever and I highly recommend it to anyone who has not yet seen it. I have a hard time understanding why this movie hasn’t gotten more publicity. Another thing I couldn’t understand is that this practice is undoubtedly occurring all over the United States and yet there is so little mention of it in the media. The sad truth is there are not a lot of victims of human trafficking being found because no one is looking for them. Human Trafficking got a little media attention in 2004, when The New York Times published a story called, “The Girls Next Door” by Peter Landesman which publicized a human trafficking raid in Plainfield, N.J that uncovered the sale of teenage girls. The gut wrenching article tells how the girls had been sold so many times, over and over again and were forced to do whatever the “john” wanted. Reading this article enraged me. If so many “Johns” were able to locate these girls so easily, why had no one else found them sooner and why had no one come to their rescue?
    A big part of the problem is that people have the misconception that if someone is prostituting themselves then they must be doing it by choice. No one stops to help a 15 year old girl on the street because they assume that she’s probably and drug addict or made some really bad choices. If that were the case, it still would not be a reason not to help these under aged individuals, but the reality is so much worse. Many of these girls were lured into the trafficking business with the promise of a better life (some even paid for that they thought would be an opportunity for their talent to be discovered), others were kidnapped. These girls (and boys) want nothing more than to be rescued. And instead they are ignored, or worse- blamed.

  14. One would think that in the year 2011 that we would not be hearing about honor killings. I am sad to say that these killings are not only a thing of the past but the numbers of killings in Europe are increasing. Many people who have come from countries that forbid a girl to marry outside of her religion, have sex prior to marriage, leave abusive marriages, etc. are now living in European countries and although they have lived for many years in these countries they are still holding onto their traditional ways of thinking. Many parents would be disappointed to find that their young daughter is marrying outside of their religion or perhaps have gotten pregnant prior to marriage, however thinking that it is ok to brutally beat and murder your own child for these acts if beyond comprehension, yet it happens still. I read that in the year 2007 that there was over 5000 honor in 14 countries. Many countries are now making laws tougher and hoping to decrease the number of honor killings, however much more needs to be done. Education is important, teaching women that they can go to safe houses and providing a safe place for them to go will hopefully save lives.
    The honor murders violate many of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The following articles are violated.

  15. The following articles are violated.
    • Article 1 – All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and shout act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
    • Article 2 – Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration..etc.
    • Article 3 – Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person
    • Article 5 – No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
    • Article 6 – Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law. (These families take the law into their own hands)
    • Article 10 – Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
    • Article 11 – Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trail at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense. (These poor women never have a chance to a trial)
    • Article 12 – No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor attacks upon his honor and reputation …..etc.
    • Article 13 – Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state (Girls are not allowed to leave the home and leave problems behind – they are followed and killed)
    • Article 16 – Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and found a family…etc.
    • Article 18 – Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
    • Articles 20, 21, 23, 27, 28 and 29 are also violated.

    As you can see almost all of the articles are violated. The women who are killed are not free to make their own choices. I was amazed to see how many of these killings still take place every year. The following is a website that will show you a good example of the life of a woman who was killed in the name of honor. At one time in this girl’s life she was brutally beaten for using hair spray. Growing up in the culture that we have, it is very difficult to comprehend that people still live like this, yet 5000 deaths in a year is a huge number. Imagine how awful it would be to be stalked and killed; yet magnify that horror by knowing that the people doing it are your family. This type of total disregard for human life and rights has to end.

    Education is important raising awareness and creating more safe places for women to go to is also important.

  16. Sexual abuse of children is a subject that I take very personally. My own personal abuse began when I was about 7 y. o. and started after the death of my father from cancer and my mom remarried. The physical aspects of it continued for 6 years; ending when I was 13. The psychological aspects however, remain and while I have learned to handle them and recognize them for what they are, they have impacted my view of people and the world in general.
    Child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation have emerged in the last 20 years as two of the most neglected forms of child abuse. Child sexual abuse is reported up to 80,000 times a year but it is believed that the actual instances of this most insidious form of abuse is much greater, because the children are afraid to tell someone what is happening, or in my case, didn’t know how to describe it. Many children fall prey to a parent, step-parent, neighbor or other trusted individual. The procedures for validating an allegation can be prolonged, exacting, embarrassing and for the child, emotionally extremely painful. If it involves an arrest and loss of financial circumstances for the family, it can also bring with it a great deal of guilt and shame.
    It is estimated that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will have experienced an incidence of abuse by the time they are 18 years old. While physical contact is what primarily comes to mind when thinking of this issue, it also encompasses, voyeurism, pornography, sexual dialogue, and prostitution. The offenders may be both men and women, young and old, and come from any socio-economic category.
    While there are obvious signs of abuse: bruising, bleeding, and even torn clothing, others signs/symptoms occur that may not necessarily be quite as obvious. A child that may be sexually preoccupied, more knowledgeable than normal for her/his age, bedwetting, nightmares, and apparent unreasonable fears may all manifest and may be an indication of the occurrence of abuse.
    The best interventions may also be the most obvious ones. Parents or care givers of children need to be aware of who their children come into contact with. They also need to pay attention to what their kids are telling them and be cognizant to changes in their behavior or in physical complaints that are new or out of the norm for their child. If abuse has occurred, the child needs to be supported and be made constantly aware that they have done nothing wrong. Psychological counseling for the child that is age appropriate is essential; however, support is necessary for the family as well. The ramifications from child sexual abuse can be far reaching and echo over time, affecting every aspect of an individual’s life and future relationships.
    The Human Rights Issues involved are A3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.
    A5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
    I found a couple of video links on YouTube that I found quite compelling: 1.) The Silent Child and 2.) Child Sexual Abuse. The following sites also provide a great deal of stats on this issue and provides further informative links:,, and

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  18. I found this image online quite some time ago but it has kind of stuck with me for a while. In terms of child abuse, I think sometimes the verbal and psychological abuse of children is harder to see and can often be harder to treat and prevent. This image made me think of how badly words can hurt and how a child who is growing and learning to communicate can be scarred so badly. The ad is called "choke" and the image shows the abusive words depicted as a hand around the child's neck. This image also makes me think of bullying which is such an apparent problem in schools and for the youth today.

  19. NEW HAVEN — Antonio Holloway, 19, became the city’s 34th homicide victim of the year Christmas Day, dying early Sunday at the Hospital of St. Raphael, several hours after he was shot near 335 Norton St., police said.

    Article 3 – Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person

    Article 5 – No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

    The most up-to-date official statistics show there were 36 homicides in New Haven in 1991, 35 homicides in both 1989 and 1990, and 33 in 1994.

    Why are so many of our young people dying? Where are they getting these guns from is my primary question? Why aren’t their killers (in some cases) being brought to justice? If the “streets” know who killed so and so, why isn’t there sufficient enough evidence to prosecute the individuals responsible for these deaths?

    This is not just about a particular city, like New Haven. This is happening in other towns as well, namely Norwalk and Stamford. It is not about bad or lack of parenting skills. It is definitely much, much more than that. Instead of town, church leaders rallying together at funeral processions when a young person is killed to say “something needs to be done about our young people dying”, perhaps we need to start at the elementary and middle school levels. This is sometimes where you see certain behaviors one might write off as “acting” out but with the right intervention, it could prevent more serious offenses later. Not an easy task and would definitely take lots of group effort but it could keep our kids’ off the streets, out of the prisons, out of the morgue and us (Social Workers) employed.


  21. Who’s protecting our children if not the parent (s)? Who does a child call out for when danger arises? How can children be heard if no one is listening? How can we protect our children if society also fails? What are we doing wrong? It saddens me to read more often than not a child dying by the hands of their parents. What could have been so wrong that they give up not only for themselves but their children?
    A mother drove her car with her four children into the Hudson River in a suicide and murder attempt but one child survived. This twelve year old child was able to escape through the car window and tell his story.
    A father accused of killing his wife which disappeared two years ago, kills his young sons then self in a ‘deadly house fire’ he started. The coroner said the children suffered hatchet marks on their neck. The father emailed his attorney saying he was sorry and goodbye!
    We as a civilized society bare a responsibility to the problems abused parents face in relationships with their paramour. The question is how else can we help if they don’t reach out?
    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. (Article 3).

  22. The rights of youth in the juvenile justice are often ignored. Many youth are not aware of their rights, making them unable to advocate for themselves. A large portion of incarcerated youth have themselves been victims of various forms of abuse and can be further traumatized by unknowledgeable staff.
    Unfortunately, there are many cases of cruel and inhumane treatment of incarcerated youth.; - these videos reveal some of the injustices and abuses committed against incarcerated youth.
    Important work is being done by the Youth Justice Institute to advocate for this population: The reports on this page: are thorough and provide a glimpse into the lives of youth in the juvenile justice system.
    The Detention Diversion Project is another organization that works to establish support for young ladies involved in the detention system:

  23. The human rights issue I want to discuss is domestic violence. I know we all know it exists and what it is but it astounds me the extent that it still happens. It is not just a problem in the United States it is a worldwide issue. Domestic violence is a serious problem one that affects everyone involved. It only gets worse if there are children involved. They may not be physically abused but watching the violence cause extreme emotional abuse. What make this situation so hard to stop is that most victims do not come forward for many reasons. Included in this posting is a link to a blog about domestic violence including pictures, video, commercials and much more. I have also included domestic violence fact and short but interesting article about how Russia wants to stop letting US citizens about Russian children.




    1. When in reference to the Declaration of Human Rights domestic violence violates Article 5 because no one should be subject to torture or cruelty and that is what domestic violence is. It also can violate article 19 because many time domestic violence is a viscious cycle that runs on power and control. Article 7 is also violated because many times domestic violence victims may not be taken seriously and discriminated against by their abuser or even law enforcement. Domestic violence can go as far as violating article 17 depending on the situation and the level of power and control.

      *I thought this posted when I posted this on 2/11/2012*

  24. Feb. 7 2012 marked the 10th anniversary of President George W. Bush signing a memo entitled “"Humane Treatment of Taliban and al Qaeda Detainees" that ironically laid the groundwork for the Bush administration to abandon Geneva conventions with regard to the treatment of al Qaeda or Taliban detainees.”

    On a related point, it was only last month that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay issued a statement in which “she expressed deep disappointment that the Government of the United States of America has failed to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and has instead entrenched a system of arbitrary detention. The UN rights chief said she was also disturbed at the failure to ensure accountability for serious human rights violations, including torture, that took place there… It is ten years since the US Government opened the prison at Guantanamo, and now three years since 22 January 2009, when the President ordered its closure within twelve months. Yet the facility continues to exist and individuals remain arbitrarily detained – indefinitely – in clear breach of international law, the High Commissioner said.”

    She also criticized the fact that President Obama recently signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act.
    “To make matters worse, the new National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law in December 2011, now effectively codifies such indefinite military detention without charge or trial. This piece of legislation contravenes some of the most fundamental tenets of justice and human rights, namely the right to a fair trial and the right not to be arbitrarily detained. Nobody should ever be held for years on end without being tried and convicted, or released.”

    The UN statement notes the following relevant articles of The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment ratified in 1994,* Article 2 states that “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.” *Article 12: "Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction."

  25. Universal Healthcare
    Approximately 50 million Americans are without healthcare. This is not a mere oversight. The United States is one of the most industrialized countries in the world. Yet, we have no universal healthcare. A large portion of our citizens are without healthcare. How can this be one may ask. Many reasons lead to why this is the case; affordability of course is at the top of the list. No matter what the cause of this problem, it is still unacceptable for the USA not to have universal healthcare. Who decides who is eligible for healthcare, who can see the doctor and who can not? Why must Senior Citizens have to choose between food and prescriptions?
    Most health insurance is through an employer. This narrows down the pool of citizens who receive health benefits. In a recession where employment sky-rocketed and lay-offs were lurking around every corner, the last thing someone needed is to worry about healthcare. Children are afforded free healthcare, what about their care-takers? Universal healthcare should be available as a basic tenement of being human. The government has an obligation to keep its citizens healthy.
    Healthcare is a part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 25): Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
    For more information see below:

  26. A16.
    (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
    (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
    (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection
    by society and the State.

    Nowhere within this article from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights do I see a specification that men and women together are the only combination of sexes that have the humane right to marry and have a family. With Prop. 8 being struck down today in California (, and with same-sex marriage at the forefront of our country’s social agenda, I’d like to take this opportunity to voice my own opinions on the matter…

    This social issue is one of particular importance to me as I have many homosexual family members and friends, and am close with the child of a homosexual couple. I’ve had conversations with my sister-in-law in which she has divulged that she’s terrified that she won’t be able to marry in her state of South Carolina. A friend who has been with her partner of 15 years and desperately wanted to wait for New York to pass same sex marriage, had to finally drive to Connecticut to marry because they had a baby on the way and they wanted they baby born into a married home. My close friend, a lawyer in Manhattan, often talks about his upbringing in a home with two Dads and how he feels that the way he was raised is the sole reason that he is the remarkable young man that he is today.

    Two people in love deserve to legally have that love be recognized. The fourteenth amendment of our Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause, states, “no state shall… deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” It is a basic human right that we all be treated with respect and fairness, so why do we, as a global entity, struggle so much in this area? We, as individuals, want to be treated with this respect and fairness, so why do we discriminate against others and oppress them into submission? “Do unto others as you would have them do to you,” is our golden rule taught to us in grade school, yet as a society, we have such a difficult time abiding by this grade school theory.

    About a year ago my friend who is the lawyer sent me a youtube clip of a young man named, Zach Whals. Zach is a Iowan college student who was raised by two women and he spoke during a public discussion on House Joint Resolution 6, which would define marriage as between one man and one woman in Iowa. Zach is a well spoken, moving young man and his message is eloquent and powerful. I cry every time I re-watch this video as I think of the impact this social issue has on so many people I would consider family. Please watch this video and I hope it sparks a fire in you that it did in me.

    Alana Burke

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  28. The effects of poverty on young children is a human right topic of interest to me. It affects not only their standard of living, but there are psychological affects that exist and impact their growth. The high unemployment rate has contributed to the rise in young children living below standard. According to the American Psychological Association web site, “U.S poverty rose to 15.1 percent in 2010 an increase of 14.3 percent since in 2009.” Poverty affects children’s behavior, performance in school, and in extreme cases puts them at risk for child abuse. Poverty affects black and Hispanic children are a higher percentage than white and Asian children. “The percentage of people in deep poverty was 13.5 percent of all blacks and 10.9 percent of all Hispanics, compared to 5.8 percent of Asians and 4.3 percent of whites,” (American Psychological Association).
    When I look over the Declaration of Human Rights, there are 30 articles which outline human rights including, the rights of young children. However, as I describe all the effects of poverty on young children, we can see how the rights indicated in Article 25 which states, “Everyone, has the right to a standard living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, and housing and medical care, and necessary social services” are affected by a life of poverty. “The social impact of poverty on young children transcend from their early childhood years, into their teens and ultimately into adulthood. It is a sad reality which has a trickledown effect. There are young children that due to the level of poverty are at greater risk of illnesses due to a lack of proper nutrition and medical care. Children rely on adults to care for them and to provide them with security and love. In Article 3 in The Universal declaration of Human Rights, it states, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of person.” Young children are unable to advocate for themselves, and pick their destiny. Government has a responsibility to protect these young children by creating programs and resources for these families during these difficult times. The stress of poverty on parents can lead to internal social issues which affect their ability to parent their children. “Poverty and economic hardship is particularly difficult for parents who experienced chronic depression, marital distress, and exhibit harsher parenting behaviors,” (American Psychological Association).
    It has been my experience that young children love their parents despite their imperfections and they are unable to speak out, or verbalize the difficulties they experience in a life of poverty. The loyalty to their parents puts them at risk of abuse and neglect, and deprives them from a safe and learning environment that every child is entitled to have. This is the reason why I am passionate about the importance of programs and resources available to help these families with the difficulties that surface due to poverty, and the need to treat economic setbacks like an emergency that requires intervention. Helping people to stay in their homes, job search and training, food and proper shelter gives people hope and opens up the opportunity to improve the quality of life of young children in poverty

  29. An issue I find extremely compelling to discuss is the crisis of children dying of starvation in Africa. As I watched the Youth for Human Rights video, I could not believe how alarming this problem truly is and how badly we need to bring attention to this dire matter. A child being killed from hunger is a serious human rights violation and quite frankly is inhumane. It is to be deprived of the most basic human need possible. These children are extremely malnourished and their bodies are skeleton-like, eventually leading to their deaths. They are living in conditions of extreme poverty, disease, and drought; and as a result have no access to food and clean drinking water. Clearly, there is an incredible amount of suffering going on in Africa and it is time for the global community to take action to help these poor children.

    When the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were created, their purpose was to protect individuals with the inherent rights that all human beings need and deserve. In the case of hunger in Africa, A25-Right to Health is in severe violation. The first part of Article 25 states that, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care.” Yet, the people of Africa are not being protected under this right. Moreover, as a result sixteen-thousand children die every single day from starvation. That is one in five seconds. In addition, Article 5 states that, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” When children are being deprived of food and water they are being subjected to torture and cruelty. Can you think of a more torturous death than dying of starvation?

    As we live in a society where a “problem” may consist of which I-phone to purchase; we should think about the problem of a child dying because they did not have any food to eat. For years, people have heard about the vast amount of children dying in Africa because of hunger, disease and poverty. The reality is the fact that it is the year 2012 and enough is enough. How can we just sit back and enjoy life when we know children are STILL dying from the basic need of hunger? Questions that may come to mind is what is really being done about this problem and what can we do to help? I believe one thing we can all do is to open our eyes, hearts and minds to the imminent death to more children if this issue does not receive more awareness and help. One suggestion is for people to trust in organizations that are credible and donate whatever they can to help. One dollar a day could provide a meal to a child and save his or her life! Think about that we can spend a dollar on a pack of gum, and with that same dollar we could be saving a life.

    It is a necessity that more attention is directed to these atrocities occurring in Africa and that these children do not have to suffer any longer in these inhumane conditions. I found two YouTube videos and several articles that made me feel a really strong urge to help and I hope it will do the same for you!

    Please check out these videos: The Starving Children of Africa and

    The following are some articles that explain this issue more in depth and provide images of the severe situation: and www.starvingchildreninafrica,org,,

  30. Every Thursday afternoon, a church not far from where I live opens its doors and gives out free lunches to the homeless. In addition, it provides clothing and other household items free of charge. Two Thursdays ago, I stopped by the church to donate some clothing. I saw a gentleman standing in the corner of the church with an empty plate in his hands. He was waiting for the church employees to set up the lunch table. His skin had sores on it, he was shaking and his clothes were ripped and dirty. He kept asking when lunch would be ready. The church employees said to him, “I know you’re hungry, lunch will be ready soon”. When lunch was served, the gentleman eagerly filled his plate and scarfed down his lunch. He also filled his pockets with food to take with him when he left. I have replayed this image in my mind over the past week as it made me realize how destructive poverty is. According to the Census Bureau (2011), 46. 2 million people in America fell below the poverty line last year. Poverty affects nearly every aspect of an individuals’ life including but not limited to, employment, food, housing, and overall health. I came across an essay written by John Scalzi (2005) entitled “Being Poor”, in which he gives examples of seemingly small areas in his life that, when combined, allows the reader to better understand how poverty is compounded, complex, and multifaceted.
    According to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (retrieved 2012), Articles 1, 17, 23, 25, 26 are relevant to the issue of poverty.
    Article 1: Everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights.
    Articles 17: The right to own property and possessions
    Article 23: The right to work in favorable conditions for fair wages
    Article 25: The right to an adequate standard of living and medical services
    Article 26: The right to education
    Without an adequate education, finding gainful employment becomes a challenge. Without gainful employment, the ability to afford food, medical care, and adequate housing becomes a struggle. Without basic life necessities, the internalization of oppression may become evident; overall well-being may diminish and feelings of freedom may seem far-fetched. A perpetual cycle begins to emerge as one area of life is negatively affected by the other. Taking the time to understand how those affected by poverty live their lives while advocacting for the rights of those afflicted by oppression, and directing attention towards governmental and non-governmental interventions could better address the issues of poverty. Rather than focus on new strategies to combat poverty, perhaps focusing on existing structural and cultural implementations (which were designed to address poverty) could help pave the way for positive change.
    Link to essay "Being Poor":
    Link to Census Bureau stats on poverty, income, and health insurance:

    Rebecca Botta-Zalucki

  31. An area that there is invariably no assistance for elders in the United States is for the elder who is still able to live independently, has some or little money yet is not destitute, does not need skilled nursing care, but may have some limitations in their activities of daily living such as forgetfulness when taking medications or needs some assistance at times. These folks either have to choose to become institutionalized in a skilled nursing home or be able to wait on long waiting lists for assisted care facilities that take state assistance or have to reside in sometimes dilapidated settings such as some bed and board facilities. Connecticut does offer some funding for seniors who want to stay home and can with some assistance in their home through Money Follows the Person, or through a program that Department of Social Services offers yet there can be long waits for assessment and for these services to begin, creating a problem with the elder’s housing and at times forcing the elder to remain in a nursing home too long and becoming institutionalized.
    According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25, (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. Those who do not have family who can accommodate them in their own homes, or without any assistance from friends/family, have to stay long term in skilled nursing homes where they are confined to an institution that does not offer the quality of life they can still enjoy, such as activities and freedoms offered by a more independent type of living situation could offer. Not only are there not enough assisted living facilities overall, there are not enough that are affordable and can also utilize Medicaid. The other issue, which is created by too many elders that should not be in skilled living facilities is that the State has to pay for skilled care when it is not needed and the yearly price to stay in a nursing home can be over $60,000. It would make sense to create more assisted living facilities that can accommodate seniors who cannot stay in their own housing due to various concerns yet do not need 24 hour nursing care.

  32. As I read through The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I forgot that it was written in 1948. Most of the articles made sense to me and I thought of how society tries to adhere these rights. However, when I got to Article 16 I was confused. It states, "(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution". I read it a couple times and was appalled to see that it does not included anything about sexuality. Same sex marriage has been a heated debate for years, but our society and our law makers forget that everyone no matter what their sexuality is has the same rights as the next person. As society changes and moves forward, so do these right and laws need to be moved forward. The world will not fall apart and human population cease to exist if we allow men to marry men and women to marry women. Perhaps there would be less need for foster care if we allowed or at least made the process easier for same sex couples to adopt. Homosexuality is only a matter of preference, just like a heterosexual person has a preference of what type of person they like to date or what kind of sex they like to have. If some people do not agree with homosexuality then they do not need to stop and stare at the same sex couple in public. It reminds of me of interracial couples. Society at one time did not agree with the idea, but it came to be accepted or at least tolerated. Society needs to learn to tolerant of all people and couples no matter what their age, sex, religion, race, etc is. Below are multiple images I thought were fitting for the topic.

  33. “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Wiesel

    Human trafficking generates $32 billion annually, with $15.5 billion coming from industrialized countries (The freedom project, 2011). The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) actually reported in 2009 that trafficking in persons (TIP) had surpassed weapons trafficking to become the second most profitable international criminal industry. "Human trafficking" or TIP is an umbrella term that includes forced labor, sexual exploitation, and other forms of modern-day slavery. The International Labour Organization claims that 21 million people are currently victims of forced labor or exploitation.

    When an American thinks of human trafficking or slavery, they typically picture third world countries where men are forced to work in the fields or factories, women are forced into prostitution, and children are used for child labor. While all of that is indeed happening, the terrifying reality is that tens of thousands of people are trafficked into the United States every year. Men, women, and children are exploited for labor and sex right here on our own soil. In addition, men from our country travel internationally with the specific intent of sexually exploiting women and children (NAMBLA, anyone?), while young American women are vulnerable to being kidnapped abroad for the purpose of being sold as sex slaves.

    I don't even know where to start in terms of Human Rights violations. Articles 1, 3, and 4 are obvious. All human beings ARE born free; everyone DOES have the right to life, liberty, and security of person; And NO ONE shall be held in slavery or servitude. Articles 5, 6, and 13 are equally obvious. Honestly, the victims of trafficking have many of their rights violated. They typically do not have "a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of [themselves or of their families] (Article 25). Child victims do not have access to education (Article 26). Truly, I could go on and on. It is appalling.

    I have included several interesting links. The most informative and inclusive body of resources is probably CNN's "The Freedom Project" ( In addition, the A21 campaign shares interesting stories and info on their facebook page (

    US Department of State Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, June 2005:

    Products of Slavery, which tracks what types of products are made by child or forced labor:

  34. When thinking about Human Rights issues, there are many that come to mind; Issues concerning discrimination, oppression, equality, and so on. I am currently employed as a Utilization Review and Billing Coordinator at a chemical dependency treatment facility, and one issue that comes to mind is the denial of adequate coverage determined by insurance companies. Every day I provide clinical information to insurance companies in attempt to get appropriate coverage for these individuals in need of adequate care. Authorization and coverage is never guaranteed and each insurance company has a very strict set of guidelines for each level of care ranging in structure. I understand that benefit information is all outlined before an individual buys their insurance, but why is it so much harder to get coverage for behavioral health verses medical? An example of what I find compelling would be that individuals are frequently denied for residential treatment with the expectation, from the insurance company, that they can maintain sobriety at a lower level such as intensive outpatient, or regular outpatient therapy after a brief, or no residential stay. Based on my own reports regarding insurance companies’ authorization for residential level of care, an average number of 7 days is noted. Not to say this is always the case but it is very common. According to A3 of UDHR – ‘everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person’, the fact that the insurance company is what determines ones level of care and ability to step down contradicts this. A25-‘Right to standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself… including medical care and necessary social services’- The facility where I work treats individuals who admit themselves willingly, they feel that they cannot maintain sobriety on their own and most have failed at lower levels of care. There have been many cases in which one is denied appropriate coverage does not have the financial means to pay for residential treatment and returns to their social environment with inadequate tools for recovery; this often leads to relapse, overdose and even death. Denial occurs in all areas of health insurance but is more common in mental and behavioral health. How can an insurance company really judge what is best for an individual based on verbal report? Shouldn’t the clinical treatment team and outpatient providers have more of a say? The levels of care guidelines used to determine authorization of care are very similar and the expectation for a rapid step down to lower levels of care is unreasonable. Yes, the insurance companies pay the facilities for services rendered and they should not pay for services that are not clinically or medically necessary. Is there a better way to gauge medical necessity? Should the individual paying for their insurance coverage have the right to determine what treatment they need based on their life situation? I feel that this is a human rights issue that needs more exploration and awareness.
    • The link above takes you to a textbook article on ASAM criteria which is most frequently used by insurance companies to determine coverage and authorization for treatment
    • The link above takes you to a list of some current laws relating to behavioral and mental health treatment
    • Above is a link to a short video by a woman discussing her struggle with insurance coverage
    • Above is a link to a short clip created to raise awareness on adequate health care

  35. “What is to be thought of a nation… boasting of its love of justice and purity, and yet having within its own borders…. millions of persons denied by law the right of marriage?” - Frederick Douglass

    Same-sex marriage is an on-going major political and social issue that continues to debate whether or not same-sex couples should be allowed to have equal rights to marriage or forced to hold a different status. As of May 2012, only 8 of our states have legalized gay marriage (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, Maryland, and the District of Columbia).

    Our government and society have segregated homosexuals as second class citizens that are denied equal freedoms. They are subjected to unequal treatment and prejudices This is a clear violation of Articles 16 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 16 declares every human has the right to marriage and family without any limitations, as long as it is entered into with full consent of the intending spouses and is entitled to protection by society and State. There is no mention of denying this right to anyone due to their sexual orientation. Therefore, this violates Article 7 which states that all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination. Discrimination has prevailed over justice and equality and I strongly disagree with our government controlling how to love and who to love. In the past decade, the gay rights movement has made the most progress towards equality and continues to raise awareness and fight for justice and human dignity.

    The following links are examples I have chosen to share with you all on this topic. They are very powerful, and I hope you take the time to look at each one.








  36. The Rohingyas of Arkan State, Myanmar

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    Article 15.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality
    (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

    It seems remarkable to me that one day you can have a nationality and the next you might not. People growing up in the United States need to know when we are part of the lucky ones who we might not have reason to know that citizenship can come and go, along with the rights that go with it.

    Today, Myanmar is very much in the news. The Rohingya people of Arakan State are only one example of the Human Rights abuses happening there at this time. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the western colonial powers drew up the maps establishing nation states across the world. In the case of Myanmar, formerly Burma, it was the British who established the territory of Myanmar. In doing so, they formulated a nation state predominantly Buddhist with many ethnic minorities.

    In 1982, the government of Myanmar removed citizenship from the Rohingya people. Depending on to whom you speak, what you read, or what you Google, the Rohingya people either settled in what is now Myanmar in the Arakan State in Western Myanmar as early as the 8th century or they are simply Bangladesh citizens that migrated to Myanmar illegally over time crossing the border by any means to seek a better life.

    Today, in 2012, it is estimated that 800,000 – 1,500,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar. They are stateless, have had mass exoduses to Bangladesh, Thailand, and Turkey over the last 40 years, and have been repatriated against their will. They are boat people looking for a home, segregated in camps in their own land, tortured and abused. They are refugees living both in camps and illegally in Bangladesh, Thailand and Turkey. They are not wanted at home. They are not wanted anywhere.

    Read more at: a

    It is shocking and disturbing to read that the notion of resettling people is even on the table:

    Learn how to help at:

  37. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    Article 4 -No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
    About two years ago I would have thought that if the UDHR prohibits slavery and slave trade that slavery would therefore be abolished. Then I was at a Guster concert when I saw a tent for the organization Love146, where my eyes were opened for the first time to modern day slavery. I talked to their representative for a while and went home to do my own research.
    I learned that 27 million people are enslaved today and in fact trafficking generates around $32 billion annually. Many of these victims are women and children; over 1.2 million children are trafficked annually. This exploitation leads to prostitution, pornography, and sex tourism. These young children forced into the commercial sex industry suffer severe physical and psychological damage.
    Love146 is an amazing and inspiring organization. They aim to combat the issue of child sex slavery by prevention and aftercare. There are Safehome’s for survivors in which therapy, education, and directions for careers can be set. The workers and volunteers at these locations are specially trained in working with the survivors; Love146 provides a certificate training program in aftercare. They also do a lot of work in prevention and the headquarters for advocacy and awareness is in New Haven, CT.
    The amount of young children in the commercial sex industry is absolutely heartbreaking. I wanted to feel like I was doing something to combat the objectification of young girls so Love146 inspired me to get certified as a Rape Crisis Counselor through my university. This led to educating young girls about rape culture through small groups and schools. I know that many universities and woman centers provide programs like this. There is also information on how to get involved with Love146 by volunteering or donations at

    Also: check out this video on an introduction to Love146 and their mission:

    Learn about the demand for victims of commercial sex and how to address it in this article:

  38. What About Gay Rights?

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 7 states, “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.”

    It has been no secret that Gay Rights have been surfacing, especially within the last decade. It has been a very complex issue that has been debated for many years by government officials, religious affiliates, non-gays, and people in the LGBTQ community. I have an Aunt who is a part of the Lesbian community and we often have conversations about gay rights. She has told me about the countless times where discrimination has been extremely hard on her and her lifelong partner. For example, she and her partner lost their home due to Hurricane Sandy. My Aunt works for a company that usually helps people in need. The year prior, our area was also hit by Hurricane Irene and a man she works with lost everything. Her company helped out with new items for his new home, food, and even time off from work. She was not helped in any way and even had to endure a snide comment from another manager about her and her “partner” finding their own way.

    I can’t help but to think about this constant battle over a marriage between “men and women.” I mean who really cares as long as the people love each other. But that is just it! It seems as though people lose sight of what is really important in this world and that is people and love.

    Recently I stumbled across a few articles that I found pretty interesting on A Lesbian couple were both able to put their names on their child’s birth certificates for the first time ever. This is huge for the gay community! I think this information is significant because we will always face battles in our changing culture. Sometimes it just takes baby steps to get there.

    I also heard news that the Boy Scouts were considering allowing openly gay members to join. According to a video found on Youtube one of the reasons the Boy Scouts didn’t previously allow openly gay men into their troops was because 75% off them are funded by churches. Although a decision has not been made yet, this is an important change in perception from when the Boy Scouts had just said no. The fight for equality in gay rights has begun opening minds in a way they weren’t before.

    Although gay rights will be an on going issue for quite some time, I am glad to know that it can continue to change as our culture changes its perception of equality and love. It’s proof that our culture can change and that we can change an overall perception.

    An article about the first two women to be on a birth certificate:

    Youtube video representing Boy Scout debate:

  39. It seems as though America is fascinated with the idea of prison. There are now many shows on television that show a day in the life of someone incarcerated at one of the many institutions in this country. While I will say, I too find these shows interesting (even entertaining), they also are helpful in informing the viewer of the realities of prison life.

    The other day, I saw a show on women’s prisons, and was especially interested in a segment that highlighted nursery programs. Nursery programs allow for a woman who is pregnant, prior to being incarcerated, to have her child stay with her in prison up until the child is 18-30 months of age (depending on the state). While this type of program is rarely seen in today’s society, it has been successfully implemented in eight states in America, as well as in other prisons in different countries around the world. While the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women (NCCW) is well known for setting the trend of nursing programs in 1994 in the US, New York was actually the first state to adopt this practice beginning in the early 1900’s.

    Mothers who qualify for nursery programs must be non-violent offenders in minimally secure prisons, whom have often been given short sentences, typically for drug related offences. Those supporting the program speak of the mother/infant bond, and how important it can be for the child’s development. It has also been shown by the NCCW, that female offenders who participate in their nursery program have a recidivism rate that is 3x lower than that of other female prisoners. The nursery program supports the female prisoner in many ways; and prepares them for future success by offering reasonable accommodations for raising a child, educational classes on parenting, drug treatment classes, and therapy sessions for the mother.

    Those opposing nursery programs cite two major problems, both involving the unfair treatment of the child. The first issue being that prison is not a healthy environment for a child to be raised in. The other issue cited is that the program delays the inevitability for the child leaving the mother when he/she reaches the set age limit.

    The topic of pregnant women who are in prison and raising their infant children, does not appear to be of great significance to many, nor has it been discussed much in the media. I found two articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Annex III) that support nursery programs. Article 16.3 discusses the family and how it is a ‘natural and fundamental group unit of society’, and is therefore protected by the government. Article 25.2 discusses how a mother and child are ‘entitled to special care and assistance’. Both of these Articles clearly demonstrate the potential for a nursery program to not only exist, but be supported by the natural entities within human rights.

    I found many articles related to this issue, some of which were informational, and some that were personally related. One personal experience was (which can be read in the link below) written by Deborah Jiang Stein, a woman who was born in a state prison in West Virginia. Her story offers a unique perspective to the positive effects that a nursery program can offer. I have also included some videos of female prisoner’s in different nursery programs. The most profound video I found was of a women’s prison in Indiana, where one of the inmates was given a baby shower prior to giving birth. I see this act to be a courageous effort by the prison to advocate for the nursery programs, and for the rights of the mother and child as discussed in the UDHR.

    Related articles:
    - Deborah Jiang Stein - Babies behind bars
    Related videos:
    - (Indiana woman’s prison- baby shower) (nursery program documentary, Prison lullabies)

    - (statistical data on nursery programs)

  40. “After the hundreds of stories I've heard of atrocities around the globe, I know that if you're a woman born in the United States, you're one of the luckiest women in the world.” –Oprah Winfrey

    While it may be true that women in the United States are not faced with many of the horrific acts of violence against women that other countries experience, violence against women all over the globe is an all too true reality in today’s world. Despite numerous efforts over the years to improve the rights of women, gender inequality, especially gender crime, is still a problem that plagues women everywhere.
    One act of violence against women that exemplifies gender inequality is the act of “honor killings.” In many countries, especially the Middle East and India, honor killings, or the killing of female family members that are seen to have brought shame upon the family are on the rise. In India alone, 5,000 brides are killed as a result of insufficient dowries, or money paid to the husband by the woman’s family. (National Geographic). This number may not be accurate as families are not likely to report such crimes and authorities are not likely to prosecute the perpetrators. Reasons for shame range from things as talking with a male outside of the family to getting a divorce. Physical abuse, arranged marriages, as well as dowry –related crimes, where brides’ families must pay money to the groom, are also common (Amnesty International). When dowries are not considered sufficient, it often results in crimes such as acid thrown on the woman’s body and even murder. Other female family members support these types of crimes, adding to the difficulty in stopping them. Police and other government officials usually look the other way and prosecution of the male family members never happens. When it does, the crime can be anywhere from a few months to a few years in jail, a small price for the murder of a family member. Iraq law limits the sentence to no more than 3 years for an honor killing of a wife. In addition, women are often afraid to report a rape or domestic violence, as this would be considered bringing shame on the family and would result in some form of violence. One woman in Iraq was killed by her father for being seen as too “Westernized.” In a report from WHO, in 2006-07, 83 percent of women reported experiencing "controlling behavior" by their husbands and 21 percent reported being victims of physical violence.
    Violence against women is completely unacceptable and something that needs to stop. Women in many parts of the world are seen as objects and possessions, not humans with rights. What perpetuates this violence is the lack of punishment for those committing the crimes and the lack of response and support of women by the governments, themselves. Even in the U.S., rape is still stigmatized and underreported. Until we have harsher penalties for criminals committing these acts, as well as a culture that treats women with respect and with dignity, these crimes will only continue.
    The following rights are being violated everyday around the world when women endure violence and death, simply because of their gender:
    Article 1. The right to freedom and equal rights.
    Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
    Article 6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
    Article 16. The right to marry freely with consent from both parties, as well as have a family entitled to protection by society and the State.


    As defined by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) “Human Trafficking is a crime against humanity. It involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them”.

    Sometimes it begins with a promise, for a better life. They tell you “we can make your dreams come true” or “ we can help you support your family”. They build your sense of “hope”. You feel relief; life is finally going to change for the better, for you and more importantly for your family and/or children. Traffickers, they prey on the vulnerabilities of ones needs and/or weaknesses.

    There are 3 elements of Human Trafficking; 1. The “act”- recruitment, transportation, or harboring. 2. The “means”; in what manner is the act done? By force, deception, coercion, physical abuse, or threatening. 3. The “purpose”; financial gain. Watch the attached video “Affected for Life” to hear the pain these victims will live with indefinitely. These three elements are all committed at the expense of a persons or child’s emotional well-being.

    The Articles created under The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) intended for all persons, but the following Articles are specific of a person who has been forced to live a life against their will and at the expense of another.

    Article 1 and 3 state that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and “everyone has a right to life, liberty, and security of person”. Human Trafficking violates people’s rights as they are being held against their will and denied freedom, protection, and dignity.

    Human Trafficking is the purchasing and selling of people, holding them against their will and forcing them to work. Article 4 of the UDHR “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms”.

    Whether the purpose is prostitution, child labor, or sale of organs, there are often abusive physical and/or psychological treatments. Article 5 of the UDHR states “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

    People subjected to Human Trafficking are robbed of their dignity, pride, beliefs, hopes and dreams. Even when rescued the inhuman treatment and environments they have been subjected to will forever be embedded in their souls.

    The United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime developed the “Protocol to Prevent, Surpress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons”, the author, Kofi A. Annan, Secretary-General states that he “believes the trafficking of persons, particularly women and children, for forced and exploitative labour, including for sexual exploitation, is one of the most egregious violations of human rights that the United Nations now confront".

    The following are a list RESOURCES that are a guide to help in this horrific crime.

    1. The following link is for the VITA system known as the Victim Translation Assistance Tool, often used by law enforcement This tool translates a numbers questions that help to determine if a person is a victim of Human Trafficking in 40 different languages. All questions can be answered “yes” or “no”, utilizing a white or black items. It is explained if they answer “yes” touch the white item and if they answer “no” touch the black item.



    4. United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), which is under the UNODC and the Protocols thereto, assists States in their efforts to implement the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Trafficking in Persons Protocol).

    5. Affected for Life video

  42. Human Rights and Social Justice
    Ashley Millington

    Did you know that there is an estimate of three hundred and fifty thousand offenders in United States correctional systems that are mentally ill. People who are mentally ill are more likely to be multiple offenders and re-arrested several times. Without the proper medical treatment people with mental illness will continue to commit crimes, and be sent to prison. Once these people are in the prison system there are not as many resources for them. Although prisons have begun to try to conform to these changes of the amount of people with psychiatric needs in the prison system, there is still an overwhelming amount. Once a person has been convicted and is placed in a correction facility they are more likely to not receive proper mental health care. They then begin to have more overwhelming symptoms; these can look like depression, paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions. They will then have a higher chance of lashing out or becoming violent. Again prisons have recognized the amount of mentally ill inmates and have begun to try to set programs and facilities for these inmates, with this being said there are still many cracks in this system inmates usually are not given enough resources when they are released (medication, therapist) due to the lack of supports most mentally ill inmates, will re-offend and end up back in prison.
    Article 25 Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. When putting people who are mentally ill in prison you are taking away their rights to the best medical care, and their right to a standard of living. When inmates are put into solitary confinement due to acting out they are not able to receive proper medical treatment including their mental health treatment. This can continue to make their symptoms more pronoun and have significant effects on that person.
    Article 10 states everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him. Is it fair to charge a person of committing a crime when they are suffering from mental illness? If a person who has Schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder cannot control their behaviors and thoughts should they be convicted of a crime that they may not have been able to control themselves from committing.
    For more information please take a look at these links. One is a great article from the NY Times, and the other is a video on solitary confinement, and the effects for mentally ill prisoners.

  43. Dana Bray

    I have been looking further into the issues concerning sex slave trafficking since listening to the NPR broadcast “Women Turning Oppression Into Opportunity”. I listened to that broadcast shortly before going to bed for the night and just after putting my one year old daughter to bed in the room next to me. That turned out to be a terrible idea because I spent half the night thinking about what the families of these girls must go through, and of course how scary of an ordeal it must be for the girls themselves. I could not even imagine what my life would be like if my daughter was taken from me and turned into a sex slave.

    I was able to find this website ( which went into a bit more detail about sex trafficking specifically in the US. It is stated here that the average age of girls who are forced into sex work is 12-14. At that age one can see how a rebellious girl could be easily fooled into believing that she was getting herself into something good when someone promises her money and a career. I am shocked and amazed by the types of people who could do this to anyone, much less a young girl. I recently completed reading a book entitled “Daddy’s little earner” by Maria Landon which is a memoir that tells the story of a young girl who was forced into prostitution by her father. The amount of physical and emotional abuse that went into making her believe that prostitution was the only way for her is disgusting. This article ( goes more into depth about sex trafficking and how the “pimps” usually fool the girls into trusting them.

    I think many people (like me) are surprised at how much of a reality sex trafficking is in the US. As seen on this map ( and in this video ( sex trafficking of children is a real problem in this country and I think awareness by everyone will play a major role in helping to reduce the number of people affected.

    I think many of the UDHR articles can be seen as relevant to this topic. Article 3-Security of person (i.e. not being forced to give up your body to someone when you don’t want to), Article 4- No one shall be held in slavery or servitude, Article 5 - No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and lastly Article 23(1)- (in regards to employment) to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work. I also think there are more that can be in some way linked to this topic but these seem to be the most obvious ones.

  44. Black Hate Crime
    America is full of diversity and the color of one’s skin has been the calling card for discrimination. Being an African-American youth was the reason for hatred, violence and ultimately his untimely death. This is a continuation of racism that carries a heavy infliction to my race, despite some progress in civil rights.
    “I am Trayvon Martin.”

    Trayvon Martin was an unarmed, 16-year-old who was killed by a neighborhood watch member as he walked to his father's home in a gated community. The case has gained national attention, as George Zimmerman, the man who admitted to shooting and killing him, was not initially arrested or charged. After nearly 6 weeks and considerable public outcry, prosecutors charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder in the case, which has become a flashpoint in the conversations about racial profiling and gun laws.
    According to website, an act that has emotionally or physically harmed another person based on his race will be considered a “hate crime.” A "black hate crime" generally refers criminal acts which are seen to have been motivated by hatred of a member of the Afro-American race and may involve acts of physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment involving black stereotypes, verbal abuse or insults, or the use of offensive graffiti or symbols.
    The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals.
    According to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, among groups currently included in the Hate Crime Statistics Act, the greatest numbers of hate crimes of any kind are perpetrated against African-Americans. From the lynching to the cross-burning and the church-burning, anti-black violence has been and still remains the prototypical hate crime - an action intended not only to injure individuals but to intimidate an entire group of people. Hate crimes against African-Americans impact upon the entire society not only for the hurt they cause but for the history they recall, and perpetuate.
    According the Human Rights: Questions and Answers, the United Nations defines human rights as follows:
    Human rights could be generally defined as those rights which are inherent in our nature and without which we cannot live as human beings (United Nations, (1987).
    According to IFSW manual, Human rights are universal and apply to all persons without discrimination.
    All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 7, (“A7-Discrimination”).
    'We Have Decided to Turn the Pain Into Power' Marian Wright Edelman, 12.26.2012 President, Children's Defense Fund
    The goal of equal rights, equal justice, and equal opportunity for every child in America may not have been realized yet, but it's still the goal we have to meet in order for America to finally live up to its promise. Let's all make sure that happens in Trayvon's case.
    Richard Lyon, 11.05.2012 Policy Analyst
    Racism is embedded in most of the institutional structures of our society. It is difficult to see patterns that have always been before our eyes, especially if they are eyes that have enjoyed the benefits of white privilege.

  45. I copy a picture of Trayvon Martin but it is not shown in the blog. I wonder what happened. This is my first time blogging.

    1. Hello Bridget, I read your blog and agreed with much of what you said. Article 1 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says
      All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. really? you mentioned that due to Trayvon Martin Being an African-American youth, that this was the reason for hatred, therefore, I say we are not born free and equal, sadly this is out of our control. Hopefully with politicians and advocates changes can be made. I also could not copy and paste the picture I wanted to therefore I added the link where it could be found. I am a first time blogger also. good luck with future blogging!

  46. Part 1
    Shannon Mchugh

    A humans rights issue which seems that many are “sick and tired” of hearing about even though it has remained a thorn in the side of America is the positionality of our African American male population and the affects it has on families, communities and society.
    Think of nine men in your life that are 20- 34 years old, friends, family, classmates, colleagues, now pick one, you have no choice, no questions asked, one of those men has to leave you, society, his community, his family and go to prison. It is a raw blatant fact obtained from The Pew Charitable Institute, shows that 1 in 9 black males, ages 20-34 years old are incarcerated. To go further, 1 in 15 black males over 18 are incarcerated. Are you unnerved yet? Let’s run through some hard facts. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are 709 whites males per 100,000 U.S residents incarcerated versus 4,749 black males per 100,000 U.S residents that are incarcerated. That is a difference of 4,040 more black men being incarcerated than white men per 100,000 U.S residents. This is put into a different context when you review the 2010 census at recognize that non-Hispanic blacks made up only 12.6% of the entire population of the United States. Appallingly in contrast, non-Hispanic black males comprised around 40.91% of the total incarcerated male population. Are you bothered yet? There is more. A New York Times article titled “Jail and Jobs,” states that 1 in 3 black men without a high school diploma are in jail and also contends that it is more likely for a black male without a high school diploma to be incarcerated than employed. Are you heated yet?
    Let’s start with the lives of children; 1 out of every 15 black children will grow up having a parent in jail. Black children statistically, according to Education Weekly, have only one parent that will have graduated from high school. That child also has a 46% chance of failing to graduate from high school. With a parent missing from the home, the US Census Bureau 2011 American Community Survey shows that 46.5% of families in the black community, who have a female head of household, live in poverty. Though the emotional and physical reactions to these oppressions may not be purposeful, it still shapes how a child living through them sees the world. When growing up in this cycle of oppression your personal identity and social identity become skewed. Mass media portrays you as a hard core gang member high school drop out that does drugs, carries a gun and partying all night. Not to mention that within your own home and community, those who have felt oppressed by the structural systems are working through their own feelings of oppression, internalized or otherwise, and may inadvertently acting out their frustrations. Many people come home for being incarcerated are angry, suffering from inferiorzation, unable to obtain gainful employment or education because of their incarceration, which adds to their sense of a false consciousness because they come to believe that they are the stereotypes that they have been equated with their whole lives. With the feelings of not being able to fulfill a family role, many go back to the illegal acts that put them in jail truly believing that it’s all that can be done. What are you, as a child of these circumstances, expected to draw from for support to overcome your own positionality? Or is it just expected that you will follow in the footsteps laid before you and add to the statistics? Who do you turn to for help, when the state is willing to pay upward of $40,000 to incarcerate you but only pay a median of $9,000 to educate you? This is where we call for structural change.

  47. Part 2

    Shannon Mchugh

    The United Nations created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the hopes of change and even though the United States believes that it has done what it can to honor the declaration, it has truly missed its mark with this human rights issue. The United Nations created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the hopes of change and even though the United States believes that it has done what it can to honor the declaration, it has truly missed its mark with this human rights issue. The articles of the declaration that have been trampled upon in regards to this particular human rights issue are A1-equal in dignity and rights, A2- everyone is provided the rights set forth in the Declaration, A3- right of life, liberty and security, A7- all are equal before the law, A9- no one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention, A10- full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, A11- innocent until proven guilty, A12- no one shall be subject to attacks on their honor and reputation, A25- the right to a standard of living adequate for health and wellbeing of himself and family and A26- right to education that provides full development of the human personality. Each of these articles has been breached in some form or fashion. With a foundation laid with the words of the Declaration we need to shake up the structures and start laying the brick. The issue of black males missing from the home and community is an issue for all of us. Right now we take men out of supporting roles in their homes and communities, keep them as criminals, mentality demean them, provide them with minimum resources and then spank these men for falling again. What would happen if we changed how we treated these families? What if we decided to take the money allocated to incarcerate and in fact educate? What if regulations were changed in a way that employment and education were still obtainable even if you have had an issue with the law? Mentor programs, feeding programs, early intervention, properly supplied medical clinics and dentists, and an education from k-12, that provides full development of the human personality .What if we decided that instead of boxing up and shipping out the parts we don’t like, we commit to finding where and why the issue may be happening and actually try and fix it? It starts with us.

  48. A key component is missing from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and most all dialogue about human rights and social justice. This component is the concept of ecological justice. While so much has been done to “work towards safe, equal and ethical treatment of all people, the fate of the natural environment is becoming increasingly significant” (Muldoon, 2011). In other words, ecological issues and human rights issues are closely intertwined, and as we make progress with social issues we need to concentrate on environmental issues as well.
    All the effort to improve the personal, cultural, and structural issues afflicting people will be to no avail if the environment we live in does not allow for an adequate quality of life; or if the environment we live in is not capable of sustaining life at all. The environment we live in is the foundation for everything else. The oppressed will become further oppressed due to a decline in ecological wellness. That is, as with most everything else, the dominant groups are entitled to the finest this world has to offer while the submissive are left with the poorest living conditions. As the quality of the environment declines, the dominant groups will still live in environmentally healthy areas, and be entitled to clean air, diverse vegetation and wildlife, and minimal pollution. On the other hand, the poor living conditions of the submissive groups will only get worse with the decrease in clean air, vegetation and wildlife and an increase in pollution. An example of this idea is a concept referred to as “environmental racism.” In an NPR program entitled Pollution, Racism, and the Environmental Justice Movement, Travis Smiley describes environmental racism as “the dumping of hazardous wastes in or near communities of color” (2004). Furthermore, Annie Muldoon claims that have a particularly large impact on all ethnic minorities, women, and the poor (2011). This lack of healthy environmental conditions will only be detrimental to progress made in other fields of human rights as well. Annie Muldoon summarizes this idea best by stating that “attempts to improve social conditions may be lost if society itself lacks clean air, drinkable water and adequate food” (2011).
    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not do much to support ecological justice. Article 25 states that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family.” While this broad generalization can be construed as a form of ecological rights, there is nothing in the UDHR that specifically addresses ecological justice. Furthermore, Article 17 of the UDHR is far too general in that it states everyone is entitled to the right to own property. It should specify that everyone has the right to own property with the understanding that the ecological environment of the property will be respected and cared for. If a person owns something is it not his right to do with it what he pleases? So if I am to purchase a plot of land it is my human right to cut down all the trees on the land and drive off all the animals? A specific article needs to be instated that directly addresses ecological rights and the direct impact they have on human rights.

  49. Part 2
    The causes of most ecological injustices have been directed to the dominant groups and western cultures and ideals. The beliefs that more is better instead of the ideals of preservation are leading us into a society with no moral ecological compass. Claudia Dewane has a more radical perspective on the subject by stating that the “Western focus on humans as the center of all ecosystems, called anthropocentrism, essentially keeps us isolated and disconnected and thus incapable of spiritual, psychological, and social fulfillment” (2011, p.20). The solution to ecological injustices is a relatively simple one that Claudia Dewane summarizes perfectly by stating that “environmental sustainability requires that ‘natural capital remain intact,’ meaning natural resources should not be used in excess of their rate of renewal. In addition, nonrenewable resources should be guarded and used minimally” (2011). Nature is a perfect system that requires nothing from humans to operate at an optimal level, all it needs is for us to learn to respect it and help preserve it.

    For further reference into sociological issues in general, I direct you to the following videos created by Greenpeace.

    The homepage for Greenpeace is:

    Dewane, C. J. (2011). Environmentalism & Social Work: The Ultimate
    Social Justice Issue. Social Work Today, vol.11 No.5, Page 20.
    Retrieved from

    Muldoon, A. (2006). : Environmental Efforts: The Next Challenge for
    Social Justice. Critical Social Work, vol.7 No.2.
    Retrieved from

    Smiley, T. (2004). Pollution, Racism and the Environmental Justice Movement.
    The Travis Smiley Show: NPR.
    Retrieved from

  50. Child abuse and maltreatment in today's society

    Before I begin, I wanted to share this brief video that truly shares the extent to which we still struggle in today’s society with the abuse of children. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in article 1: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” In article 2 it states that everyone is entitled to the same rights set forth by the declaration “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.” Article 3 states that everyone has the right to life and article 5 states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Despite these rights set forth by the Declaration on December 10, 1948, there are still prominent issues within the United States, as well as other countries regarding the treatment of children.
    Taking a brief look at the situations regarding the treatment of children, we take into consideration places like Sierra Leone and Cambodia. In Sierra Leone, children under the age of 12 accounts for 26% of rape cases, and 52% are between the ages of 12-17. Yet, due to a lack of political interference, the number of rapists that are ever charged with a crime is less than 1%, leaving them free to do as they will while women and children live in constant fear. In Cambodia, girls as young as two are sold to brothels and forced to perform sexual acts with older men.
    However, right here in the United States we have our own issues with the maltreatment of children that still exist despite the declaration and laws put into place to protect children. In 2008, Child Protective Services estimated 772,000 children were victims of abuse or maltreatment, receiving over 3 million reports of children being abused. Additional statistical information can be obtained here:
    Mary Ellen Wilson became the face of child abuse in the 1800s when she was rescued from a home where she was beaten and abused regularly. Henry Bergh, a leader in the animal humane movement, assisted in Mary Ellen’s removal after the courts refused to get involved. In more recent times, there was a case back in 2006 that struck me as one of the most horrific cases we’ve seen. Nixzmary Brown, a 7 year-old girl from New York City was beaten and tortured by her mother and stepfather. She was sexually assaulted, forced to eat cat food, and left in a rodent infested room to die. Because of prior contact and complaints that ACS had regarding Nixzmary’s treatment, the situation became that much more tragic and preventable. A 7-year-old boy named Roderick Arrington died November 30, 2012 after his mother and stepfather beat and abused him because he didn’t complete his homework.

  51. Child abuse part 2

    With an estimated 3 million cases of child abuse right here in the United States each year, it is clear that despite the rights that each individual has, and despite the systems that are in place, there is still a war against children going on right here at home that needs to be acknowledged and addressed, starting at home. As Eleanor Roosevelt stated, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works.” Understanding human rights, acknowledging a problem in our country with the treatment of children, and knowing that the struggle starts at home is possibly the best way to move towards true progress in dealing with the maltreatment, neglect abuse and deaths of children right here in our country.

    I wanted to share some videos that can provide further information regarding the issue of abuse against children:

    Here’s a glimpse of what is going on in Sierra Leone:

    This video shows a brief example from the moving documentary regarding Cambodia “Half the Sky”

    One last video that really struck me regarding the severity of the issue of abuse right here in the United States is here:


    Articles1, 2, 3, 5 of the United Declaration of Human Rights, retrieved from:

    Center for Disease Control (2012). Injury Center: Violence Prevention

    Kristof, Nick (2012) Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide accessed through film and information at:

    Wheeler, Etta Angell The Beginnings of a Worldwide Child-Saving Crusade retrieved from

  52. M4-22 BLOG JFyffe

    The foundation for the concept of Human Rights, given life, character and substance by the United Nations through Eleanor Roosevelt in 1948, via the proclamation of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, was possibly the single positive enduring result of World War II. The attention of the world, as the war wound down, was on the concept of the newly formed United Nations, as the world focused on the idea of “ending war”, all war, forever. It was the time, and the entire world was ready and in agreement. This is important, as events had centered the attention of the world, and there was a universal yearning for peace.
    The recognition of the individual and collective rights of each person in the family of human kind to “freedom, justice and peace,” and what flows from these ideals, tranquility and the dignity of each person, at that time entered the human collective consciousness. The seed was planted, and the way prepared for implementation on a universal scale. In my judgment the opportunity was not missed; an important and necessary component for a move forward to a new level had come to be. This “move” to a new and conscious level is still ongoing, and newer generations are taking part in the development.
    I would argue, however, that the way forward can be diminished by a subtle misunderstanding of the elements of Human Rights, on which the process rests, resulting in moves that give “solidarity,” a necessary element for sustainability, a hesitation that can undermine and impede the process. Over- reaching and lack of precision in semantics and language can harm the process conceptually out of all proportion to what is intended.
    The documents of the United Nations are now clear that life is unquestionably at the center of the newly recognized dignity of the human person, and seemingly this would have to include birth. From this dignity flows everything; it is the essence of existence. The enhancement of life is the nucleus of the concept of the dignity of the person. I would argue this recognition cannot be qualified in any sense, and is, per se, the nobility of the person, and should not be confused with other worthy and sound ideas, such as the right to leisure or even education. Holding otherwise could grow into a confused and somewhat tortured journey to fulfillment of the world in which we want to live, to say nothing of the resistance to forward movement to a peaceful world that can result from anything less than full agreement. My argument is that we must give full attention that we not shortchange any part of the process of moving forward; the opportunity we have at the moment will continue to evolve, and either the impetus will continue, or it will diminish. Necessarily we must note a hierarchy in what we choose, and not miss this opportunity for fulfillment by a misstep that might implode our expanding expectations. There may well be an order or implementation in how goals may be accomplished that must be respected lest the entire forward thrust fail.

    I argue that Article 1. of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has the human cause correctly and clearly identified:
    Article 1.
    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
    I point to the expressed origin and derivation of the universal concept of human dignity that has grown from the two World Wars and assert that the lesson we have learned cannot be equivocated.
    The history of the League of Nations most clearly indicates that we cannot miss our chance to bring the dignity of the human person to fruition. I argue that this is the core, the raison d’etre, for the United Nations. A sharp disagreement on a fundamental element of the dignity of the person might well be fatal to United Nations success.
    _ _ _
    United Nations History Link

  53. Andy: A comment on your blog...
    I have no solution to the problem of mothers w/minor children who are incarcerated. I will say that my exprience in jail ministry indicated that some were repeat offenders of a very minor type...who might well have been expempted by some program from being separated from their children. Avery good case can be made that the poorest population in our society in terms of discrimination are children. We seem almost shameless in our treatment of them

    And...our system of justice is not really tweakable (to coin a word) in making adjustments for unusual situations...and concerning children almost all situations are unique...

    One of the most useful tools that might be used is to decriminalize some common "crimes." I'm adjusting my opinion on the mj question...yet, some situations will always fall outside whatever rules we make...We always have with us the prostitution laws, and these are the most common female infractions.

    A valid question: Are we the criminals when we separate minor children from their mothers?? (Allowing of course for some very violent crimes outside the normal parameters.

    Your contribution was a good one.
    J (James)

    1. Thank you for your interest in my post James. I was uncertain if I was reaching too far by including this issue. As I continue to analyze it, I continue to see its potential for a broader understanding of human rights.

      You are right that there is no easy answer to this issue, or the many other issues in modern day prisons. The idea that you mentioned of decriminalizing certain crimes is a valid one. However, the bigger issue in my opinion is the gap in second generational rights in this country. This gap encourages a divide in society, driven by those that have and those that do not. Those who are in charge of the laws, and have the power to imprison offenders, are often living in a very different reality than those who are ending up in prison. It is easy for an individual of high stature and privilege to condemn a poor person for his unlawful actions. While I don't defend the right for people to commit crimes, it is clear that in our country (one that holds a greater percentage of people in prison than any other in the world), we are dealing with matters ineffectively. People who have limited resources need redress (not always correction) in order for there to be an equal playing field.

      In my opinion, mothers who are allowed to care for their infant children in nursery programs in prison are benefiting from a type of redress. They are being awarded a civil compromise to turn their lives around that not only benefits them, but also their child. This is supported by the data that shows for a recidivism rate that is 3x lower for female prisoners who are involved in nursery programs, than other female inmates (as seen in Nebraska's prisons). This type of redress can serve to humanize the prisoner, and personalizes their role in changing their lives for the better.

      Here is an article from the NY Times that sheds light on the reality behind America's prisons.

  54. Human trafficking is an issue that I feel is not given enough attention in today’s society. For those that are unaware human trafficking is a crime against humanity, the act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through the use of force, coercion or other means for the sake of exploiting them. It is an issue that affects every country.
    According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (A1-All Human Beings are born free) (A4-No one shall be held in slavery of servitude) and (A5- No one shall be subjected to torture) these individual are faced with unimaginable cruelty. An article published from the Associated Press in 2007 depicts human trafficking as “Modern Day Slavery”. As mentioned earlier human trafficking affects every country, and the majority of victims trafficked are women and children. Usually these victims are lured by false promises for a better life. In some cases families even assist with trafficking in order to make money themselves.
    The FBI continues to investigate human trafficking and gave examples in their article where this form of modern day slavery continues on the rise even in the United States. These victims are held against their will, threatened, beaten along with other cruel forms of punishment with no hope in site, no one to turn to, and their total existence is derived from FEAR.
    The overall goal is to abolish human trafficking all together by raising awareness and educating yourself and those around you. The idea is to target the criminals who exploit these victims. Ways one can help the fight against human trafficking is to educate yourself and raise awareness to those around you, and most importantly if you suspect someone has been trafficked report it.
    (Picture referenced from

  55. Proper care for the mentally ill has always been a major issue. This topic has always been an interest of mine because of how close to home it is. My schizophrenic aunt was diagnosed almost 20 years ago, and yet we have not been able to find the right type of residential home for her that can provide the adequate care that she needs. She has moved from different psychiatric wards to group homes to nursing homes; but every place she has lived does not offer the right care for her and her disorder. My aunt may be very delusional, but she still knows what is happening in her surroundings and many of these places have exacerbated her issues because of how depressed she gets living there. We have gotten lucky with a few of these homes where she feels comfortable and well taken care of and her symptoms usually lessen while she is there, but those homes have always been temporary.
    These residential homes are not suited for anyone; the walls are bare, the food is awful, and the sanitation is far from okay. The majority of these places don’t offer any activities for the residents, leaving them to have no other option but to sit in rooms all day, every day. How can anyone call this adequate living? Not a single place my aunt has lived would qualify for a comfortable, homey place to live. If the patients that are living within these residences are not even being well taken care of and they fell as if everyone has given up on them then they will eventually give up on themselves. I know that a lot of the mentally ill don’t have any chance of getting better, but what about those that do? They all deserve to be treated as everyone else outside of those walls and given the same treatment and care as any other human on earth.
    According to Article 25 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
    The maltreatment that goes on within the mental health system goes against what Article 25 says. Their rights to adequate housing, medical care, and necessary social services seem to be forgotten about. They may be taken care of, but at the bare minimum. A few years back, my aunt told me that she was not feeling well and described the symptoms of a sinus infection, which I told her nurses about and asked if they could have that checked out. It took them two months to have a doctor finally diagnose her, and by that time the infection had spread and she ended up getting sick with pneumonia. What kind of medical care is that? I truly believe that if she was not mentally ill that she would have been seen by a doctor immediately. The fact that these issues continue to go on each and every day just shows how limiting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights really is. It is an amazing step towards equality, but we have a long way to go. In order for these rights to actually begin to have more success, I believe they need to become laws.
    Luckily, many other organizations have begun emerging and are fighting for the rights of the mentally ill. One non-profit organization I found is the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, founded in 1969 in Los Angeles. CCHR act “as a global watchdog committed to investigating and exposing human rights violations in the field of mental health.” With more and more organizations popping up around the United States, maybe eventually some of these issues can be ratified. I hope that one day the care for the mentally ill will be much more positive than it is now.

    Here is a link to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, specifically their page regarding The Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights

  56. Human Trafficking Holly Bender

    As defined at human trafficking is “the illegal practice of procuring or trading in human beings for the purpose of prostitution, forced labor, or other forms of exploitation”.
    Human Trafficking is the modern day slave trade. Many in the United States dismiss the notion of human trafficking as an issue of the past or an issue that occurs in “other” area of the world. While it is true that Human Trafficking is prevalent in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to name a few, it is also occurring in disgusting numbers here in the United States. Depending on your source, estimates today suggest that there are 100,000 – 200,000 people enslaved in the United States today. Most of these are women and children for the purposes of sexual exploitation. For the purposes of this blog I will focus on this population (but in no way minimizing the huge numbers of people sold into slavery and other forms of forced labour).
    These women and children that are being sexually exploited are “our” women and children. Many of these are women and girls born and raised right here in the US of A. According to David Batstone, founder of Not for Sale Campaign, a child will be approached by a trafficker within 48 hours of running away from home. Young girls on the fringes of society, poor, orphaned, overlooked and/or outcast are at risk. They are lured by traffickers with sometimes something as simple as a warm meal and a change of clothes. Would this be the case in a nation that truly valued and enforced human rights, where everyone had adequate food and housing? A topic for another blog perhaps…
    Women and girls from other countries too are being sold into slavery and brought to the United States to be exploited, used, and abused. These women and girls abducted with lies and deception, violence, drugs or any other means possible are forced to endure endless horrors with no hope of rescue. Many were deceived with promises of love, money, education, a better way of life, the “American Dream”. How disturbingly ironic that their soon to be “wife-in-law” (Alcindor, 2012) was born and raised in America and was deceived with similar lies.
    Once the trafficker has the victim they maintain their control and dominance with violence, drugs and threats of death. Many victims who have been freed bare unbelievable physical scars from the torture and physical abuse they endured. USA Today reporter, Yamiche Alcindor retold how one such victim, Asia Graves, was tortured.
    “In one incident, her captor took a potato peeler to her face then raped her as she bled. Years later, the light scar remains just below her left eye. Other violent episodes left her with eight broken teeth, two broken ankles and a V-shaped stab wound just below her belly button.” (Alcindor, 2012).
    The emotional wounds however, will take a lifetime to heal, if at all. For Asia some of this healing comes from helping to empower and educate others about human trafficking. Asia works for Fair Girls, a non-profit organization which helps victims of human trafficking.
    Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms”. (United Nations, 1948) Slavery destroys the very fiber of human dignity. In my opinion, being enslaved and sexually exploited is the very lowest and most inhumane place a person could be. For a victim of human trafficking, every single human right is violated.

  57. Many ask “how can this be happening in the US?”, while others minimize and dismiss it. Human trafficking is an all too horrific reality occurring right here: the place we call home. Similar to illegal drug and arms sales it is here because we…people in our own communities, streets, churches, convenient stores, libraries and offices… pay for these services and people in these very communities sell these girls to make the “all important dollar”. Sex sales is a very profitable business and as is evident in this capitalist society, we place a higher value on profit than we do on people. The “monsters” that are buying girls and then selling them (and reselling them) are Americans, right here; the same person we pass on the street, say “Good Morning” to or sit across from at a restaurant. It is happening here because we are allowing it and enabling it. This statement may offend many who would reply vehemently, “I don’t enable human trafficking”. My response to this is that if you are turning your eyes away, numbing your hearts and not doing anything to stop it…then you are enabling it. If there were no market, there would be no slavery. It is the duty and responsibility of every human being to defend and preserve the human rights of each other. Women and children are being sold over and over and over again, beaten, raped, drugged, starved, and exploited all while we sit in our comfortable homes, warm and well fed, loved by our spouses, adoring our children. Human trafficking for sexual exploitation is happening before our very eyes, what are you going to do to stop it? Eye To Eye with Katie Couric: Human Trafficking (CBS News) An organization that fights human trafficking and modern day slavery

    Alcindor, Y. (September 2012). “Sex trafficking in the USA hits close to home”. Retrieved From. An organization that works to prevent the exploitation of girls worldwide through empowerment and education.

    UN. GIFT . “Human Trafficking – The Facts”. Retrieved From. TRAFFICKING_-_THE_FACTS_-_final.pdf

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  59. An interesting topic which I am compelled to discuss and intrigued at having my voice heard is the horrendous and fatal deaths in which Christopher Dorner, former trained LAPD officer and Skillful Naval Reservist, is being implicated. This case has the media exchanging dialogue and sharing critical and bias opinions on how Chris Dorner has taken the law into his own hands. The recent incidents which led up to the three murders he is accused of, it appears started when Chris Dorner accused another LAPD officer of violating the human rights and brutally mistreating a 62 year old man who suffers from mental illness.
    Chris Dorner reported the incident to his superiors in confidence that justice would prevail on behalf of the victim and that the officer would suffer consequences. Chris Dorner believed he was acting in good faith and performing his duties, which is to uphold the law at all costs and protect individuals from an indigenous people, who have no respect for social justice, whether it be individuals of higher authority or criminals without regard for human rights (i.e. race, gender, social status, sexuality, positionality, religion, socioeconomics, and disabilities).
    Chris Dorner later found out that he, himself was the only officer being reprimanded- just for reporting the truth. The LAPD terminated Dorner for falsifying testimony and he lost compensation. He was suspended, then fired and sent packing to the unemployment lines. This was just another example of a continuous colonialized corrupted LAPD, who had been violating innocent people’s human rights for over a decade. such as seen in The Watts Riots and the Rodney King beating in which the LAPD only received a slap on the wrist. Chris Dorner believes he was unjustly dismissed from his duties as an officer and his human rights and reputation was indelicately violated in order for the LAPD to cover up their corruption.
    Chris Dorner attempted initially to handle the situation in the most appropriate manner and also consulted with an attorney who he hired in his defense in an effort to prevail justice and exposed the Los Angeles Police Department for what they really stand for in my opinion Licentious, Adulterate, Paltry, and Decadence (LAPD). Let’s reflect for a moment and ask ourselves is Chris Dorner in the right or wrong for taking drastic measures by taking the law into his own hands and pursuing his own institution which he has accused of violating human rights and social justice of an indigenous oppressed diverse culture?
    I understand Chris Dorner’s frustration towards the white supremacy double standard on enforcing the rules to dominate the subordinates by silencing the voices of this mishandled and mistreated population. While I, in no way, condone any actions he has taken, I can sympathize with his loss of faith in our judicial system, set in place only to benefit the structural levels such as the upper government hierarchies. I disagree with Chris Dorner’s actions in taking the lives of innocent people and although he is still at large, I can’t help but meditate on the thought that when different adversities mount up against the average person, how do you respond?
    In Chris Dorner’s Manifesto which he mailed directly to Anderson Cooper at CNN, he stated that this plight was aimed at restoring his name. Given the underpinning thought and what we see as his motivation, I find that Article 12 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights most applicable to this critical social injustice.

  60. As I read through The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles one that I find relevant to the issue at hand is “Article 12” which states “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” Based on Article 12 it is my belief that this provision relates directly to this case.

  61. Child abuse and neglect is an important human rights issue that has a severe impact on youth through adult hood. The issue of child abuse runs deeper than the physical appearance. It usually presents with long term emotional scaring. Child abuse is also the cause of many deaths in children, both accidental and intentionally. What’s interesting is that there are no cultural boundaries when it comes to child abuse. It remains to be a worldwide issue that does not have a specific ethnic background, religion or economic status. There is no one answer prevention or cause for child abuse.

    The Childhelp website provides you with statistics, names of organizations that are fundamental in helping and ways you can become involved to address this issue.

    The following articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights pertain to child abuse:

    Article 5

    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    Article 25

    Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

    Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

    The following website provides information around resources, prevention and evidence based practices.

  62. Often times, when the topic of women's rights comes up- immediately triggered is thoughts of the "war on women," the term used to describe political initiatives to restrict women's rights- specifically reproductive rights. Because our country and so many others have come so far in this area, it is easy to forget that in some countries, women are essentially treated as slaves.

    In Saudi Arabia, it is not legal for a woman to drive a car. Also in Saudi Arabia, two women working for a human rights agency were charged and in Pakistan, a 15 year old girl was shot in the head for "western thinking."

    These are clear human rights violations. In looking at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are so many articles that stand out as relevant to this issue. Articles 1 and 2 are obviously violated as they pertain to the basic idea that we are all equal and should be treated as such, and not denied any rights based on any trait, such as gender.

    In many of these societies, women are viewed as slaves to their husband and are treated as such- in some cases, violating articles 4 and 5.

    Articles 7 and 9 are violated by the treatment of the two human rights advocates who tried to help the woman escape from her abusive husband.

    Articles 13 and 14 are violated in that in many of these countries, women are often not allowed to leave the country, to possess their own documentation, or to travel without their spouse.

    Articles 17 and 18 tell us the everyone has the right to freedom of thought and opinion, however woman are harassed, assaulted, and in the case of Malala Yosafzai, shot in the head for different thinking.

    Article 26 discusses the right that all people have to an education- while huge strides have been made in the middle east towards increasing enrollment for women, they have a long way to go and education for women in the middle east is still an unpopular thought in many communities. Just this March, Shahnaz Nazli, a teacher at an all girls school in Pakistan was murdered on her way to work.

    As you can see from this list, the treatment of women in these nations in the Middle East violates more than a third of the rights listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While it is important to work and fight to improve rights in our own country, we cannot forget about the treatment of women abroad, which is abhorrent.

  63. (Linnea Carlson)

    Recently, a friend of mine, brought to my attention an issue he found pressing, and knowing of my love of all things social work and dedication to the profession, was anxious to hear my opinion. Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Education dismissed a complaint filed by a Michigan Department of Civil Rights, which cited 35 Michigan school districts currently using Native American imagery as school mascots. In the original complaint, the MDCR stated that the use of Native American imagery denies equal rights.

    For many years, as summarized by this timeline, , the fight against stereotypical representation of Native Americans and their rich culture has been ongoing. Use of images that portray Native Americans as stereotypes (Native Americans as savages etc.) feed into years of oppressive views and is simply unacceptable. They reinforce ideas that all Native Americans can be lumped into one distinct category, complete with headdress and tomahawk, and in effect, completely ignore individual identities and tribal customs, directing attention away from many of the struggles faced by Native peoples due to this very oppression.

    A young woman, a student and writer from Harvard University, runs a blog ( which I have followed for the last few years dedicated to raising awareness about the continued use of inaccurate and inappropriate Native American imagery and the almost invisible mockery employed through fashion, media, school campuses, and popular culture. As a Cherokee woman, she very eloquently and passionately raises the very real issue at hand: the continued oppression of Native peoples and the invisible struggles they face in today’s society. She touches on the ideologies held by people of all backgrounds, including the negative reactions she has faced herself, as an advocate, by her own people. Posts on the blog, range from supportive, to irate. One individual commented: “Why don’t you Indians get over it! No one means any disrespect. Get a life and go get a job and get off welfare.” Before I discovered this blog, I had never truly thought of the negative impact of Native American imagery and the continued use of stereotypes, and furthermore it astonished me the reactions and statements made by my fellow man. These ideas are so ingrained in our society that many are not conscience of their oppressive nature.

    This issue specifically brings to mind Article 19 of the Universal Declaration which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. While individuals have the right of freedom of opinion and expression, it is often the subtle acts of oppression that in turn violate Article 1, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”. As I told my friend, it is a fine line. Respect and admiration for a culture is extremely important, but we all must recognize when acts, no matter how subtle, are oppressive.

    Here is a link to the original MDCR complaint, the U.S. Department of Education’s response, and several videos/articles on the subject of the use of Native American imagery:,4613,7-138--294605--,00.html

  64. Title: Human Rights and Social Justice- Fordham University Module 4

    Legalizing gay marriage is an issue that has effected this country for way too long. Recently I have read an article posted on discussing that both houses of legislation voted for gay marriage in NJ but Gov. Christie vetoed the bill. The article stated over 60% of New Jerseyians who voted for for legalizing gay marriage.

    I found this to be completely unacceptable. I think my issue with this is that I do not fully understand why our country's leaders should have the say in who can and cannot get married. This is an issue I have debated with people in the past who have voiced to be they feel gay people are not entitled to the same things as opposite sex married couples. In my opinion they should be entitled to the same rights as any other married couple because they are two people who fell in love and want to be married. My belief is if they are not bothering you why do we feel the need to intervene. It also hurts me to think that one day I plan to marry my long term boyfriend and not all couples can say that because there is a law stopping other couples.

    This issue with legalizing gay marriage conflicts with the A16 1-3 "Rights to Marriage" in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The three statements declare that men and women are entitled to marry with consent from both spouses, to have families and are entitled to "protection and safety from the state." These statements never mention that this only applies to opposite sex couples which leads me to believe same sax couples deserve the same respect as every other married couple in this world!

  65. Brie Meade

    Working women, working full time jobs continue o be paid less than their male counterparts. Years after the first women’s right’s movement, women continue to be paid 77 cents for ever dollar their male counter part earns. The longer the woman is employed, the wider the gap becomes. This means that over the course of a woman’s career, she will earn $1.2 million dollars less than a man with equal education. The gap is argued to be most prominent during a woman’s child bearing years, years when a larger income could have a greater impact. This occurs for a variety of reasons. Women may choose to leave the workforce to focus on raising children or employers may turn women away from employment in anticipation of her leaving to raise children. According to a 2012 Huffington Post article, if the gender wage gap were to be eliminated, the effects could result in a stimulus larger than that put into place by President Obama in 2009. Economists estimate that if the wage gap were to be eliminated, the economy would grow by at least three to four percent. This number does not factor the number of women who would be drawn to the work force given the equity of pay. Closing the wage gap would not just benefit the economy, but would be a giant leap for women’s rights. Perhaps by closing the wage gap we come closer to eradicating the idea of men being the stronger sex. Eliminating the wage gap gives no excuse for women to pursue financial independence which in turn could remove several families from federal assistance programs and into the work force. If the elimination of the gender wage gap has benefits across economic lines, why has the conversation not been further ensued? Why have pieces of legislation fighting to eliminate the gender wage gap sat in Congress or done little in the way of preventative measures towards the issue?
    Additionally, the gender wage gap directly violates several rights outline in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights including:
    A 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.
    How are women “secure” if they are unable to obtain the same resources and opportunities as men?
    A 23: Right to work, to free choice of employment, and to favorable conditions of work and protection against unemployment. Everyone has the right to equal pay.
    The connection here is obvious. Women are not receiving equal pay for the same jobs men are performing.

    To become further educated and for ways you can do your part, here are some great links.
    • Huffington Post Article October 2012:
    • NPR, Morning Edition June 10 2013
    • Forbes February 2013

  66. The persistence of chronic hunger and poverty is a major problem throughout the world today and needs to be corrected. The problem does not exist because there is simply not enough food to feed everyone. The truth is that the world produces enough food to feed everyone. In essence, people experience hunger because they cannot produce enough food or do not earn enough to buy the food they need. The reality is that the large majority of poor and hungry people in our world work very hard to provide for themselves and their families. They are not looking for a handout. They are seeking dignity and justice for themselves and their children.
    As article 25 from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, “Everyone, has the right to a standard living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, and housing and medical care, and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” However, this right is jeopardized too often, and for many without warning when the life a person lives is affected by poverty. For many children the social influence of poverty on young children goes beyond their early childhood years, into their teens and ultimately into adulthood, and even can be passed down from generation because it is a cycle that is very hard to break. There are young children that due to the level of poverty are at greater risk of illnesses due to a lack of proper nutrition and medical care. Children rely on adults to care for them and to provide them with security and love.
    The ONE campaign recognizes that hunger and poverty are problems that are intertwined; yet, the larger community has not fully addressed the problem and sought solutions, ultimately reinforcing the conditions that are creating the struggles that many face. If a farmer cannot sell his or her maize for a better price than it cost to produce it, it becomes very difficult to feed his or her family. In such situations the worker will often skip a meal or two a week in order to be sure that the children of the family eat. Research shows that depending on circumstances, there may be situations where the entire family skips a meal or two in a week (
    Article 3 of The Universal declaration of Human Rights, states, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of person.” Young children are unable to advocate for themselves, and pick their destiny. Government has a responsibility to protect these young children by creating programs and resources for these families during these difficult times.
    For the first time in history, the world has the financial and technological means to make poverty history. Approximately 30,000 people die each day of extreme poverty, yet the current portion of the United States budget selected for poverty-focused development assistance remains less than one-half of one percent. An additional ONE percent of the federal budget would make a difference in so many lives. The ONE campaign is calling on the United States government to lead efforts to cancel the debt of the world’s poorest countries, ensuring that savings will be allocated to reducing poverty and to reform trade rules to level the playing field so that poor people in developing countries are afforded the same opportunities to earn a decent livelihood for their families. Bread for the World is an organization that is responsible for advancing the ONE campaign by providing a concrete way for citizens to push for United States policies that help meet basic needs of our global neighbors (
    Post 1 –To be continued . . .

  67. Post 2 Continuation . . .

    Social workers are uniquely qualified to help people right in their own environment, by looking at all the different aspects of their lives and cultures. We work to ensure personal well-being of individuals, prevent crises and to counsel individuals, families, and communities. We make sure people get the help they need from the best resources available. As stated in the NASW Code of Ethics, the primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty (National Association of Social Workers, 2008). It is the job of social workers to advocate and link clients that provide them with basic shelter, healthcare and access to food and water because these are rights that every human being has and there for deserves access too. One of the best ways to get clients the services that they need and deserve is to become involved in public policy and work for a campaign either as a volunteer or paid staff. People get to be involved on the ground floor and often can interact with staff at high levels. Many people who actively volunteer for a campaign can later be hired by the candidate once they reach office. The ONE campaign is an important movement for exploring the horrific issue of poverty. This is a chance for social workers to ask the government to take a stand and be more accountable for relieving people from suffering in the United States and around the world.

    Interesting articles about poverty. Solving World Hunger Means Solving World Poverty, by Anup Shah is an article that I found particularly interesting. The article can be found at the following web address: second article of interested about poverty is Poverty Facts and Stats by Anup Shah. The article can be found at the following web address: In 2010, NBC News released an interesting article, Record number of Americans living in poverty,

    The following links are videos that I have chosen to share that show the effects of extreme poverty and the importance of the ONE campaign. They are very powerful, and I hope you take the time to look at each one.;_ylt=A2KLqIN.OL1Rt1UAF4_7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTBrc3VyamVwBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQD?p=poverty+and+the+one+campaign&vid=14f3c8a3de8be98427de9c917bc91360&l=00%3A30&
    The following are links to images that show what the face of poverty looks like throughout the world.

  68. A social issue that I find compelling and all too common in todays society is a general attitude that many people take toward social groups and societal issues- "Blaming the victim." Blaming the victim is a process in which some or many people in a society look to individual defaults or deficits as a cause for social problems, as opposed to social systems or policies and human rights violations. The process of blaming the victim can be seen in many ways in every day society, from thinking like "Its his fault he is poor, he didn’t go to college" to extreme views like "Well if she didn’t want to have sex with him why would she wear that dress or go up to that bedroom with him." Blaming this victim is a process that farther alienates oppressed groups, has its roots deep in the history of the US and around the world, and actually helps to develop and perpetuate oppression, segregation, and stereotypes.
    Protestant work ethic in the early 1900's perpetuated beliefs similar to this, teaching that if you work hard every day you will find salvation and get into heaven. Adversely, those who do not work or are unable, have issues like mental or physical disabilities, are clearly not worthy of salvation and are unable to fulfill this calling and make it into heaven. Although many of today’s views are not as extreme in the United States, there are so many belief systems and cultural bias in today’s society that participate in the blaming the victim mentality. Most of the time being a "victim" means you have already been the victim of a human rights violation. By being subject to blaming the victim an individuals rights are further violated, taking more away from their worth and dignity which has already been violated.
    According to Article 5 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment." The process of blaming the victim is a degrading and unfair one that oppresses people on many different levels, from women in the poor in the US being blamed for their circumstances to women in Asian and middle eastern countries being ostracized from society or even killed for being the victims of sexual assault and rape. Blaming the victim is not only wrong, but it violates the human rights of individuals who have already faces oppression, injustice, and adversary in the act for which society has "blamed them" for.

  69. Conclusion: Blaming the victim

    Article 11 of the UN's Universal declaration of human rights also states that "Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty" In the case of blaming the victim guilty is being wholly or partially placed on the victim-not the perpetrator. My question is why? A recent hot topic in the news was the Steubenville, Ohio rape case in which a 16 year old intoxicated unconscious girl was sexually violated and then a string of social media followed with an inappropriate response by many students and even some teachers. After the guilty charges were placed on the perpetrators CNN made multiple statements about the harshness of punishment as well as defense of the perpetrators. Recently Serena Williams, the tennis superstar, made very inappropriate comments to Rolling Stone Magazine blaming this victim in this case as well. CNN immediately made an apology, as did Serena Williams who claims she never said what was quoted, however the reporter has a recording and it is a reputable magazine. The first step to blaming the victim is spreading awareness and empowerment, which I hope to share with you all in this post!

    Check out some links on blaming the victim for rape, sexual assault and poverty in todays society--the YouTube video is particularly powerful and eye opening:

    Alexandra Pagano
    Fordham University
    Human Rights and Social Justice

  70. Emily Barone (6050 Human Rights & Social Justice)

    Genocide: “acts with intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national ethnic, racial or religious group causing serious bodily or mental harm, deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the groups physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures to prevent births within the group, transferring children of the group, to another group” (Wronka, 2008, p. 82).

    Darfur, a region in Sudan where human rights are denied each day by an act of terror: Genocide. In 2003, two Darfuri Rebel troops launched a movement against the Sudanese government to “fight against the historic political and economic marginalization of Darfur”. The government reacted by sending their troops known as the Janjaweed to “specifically targeted ethnic groups from which the rebels received much of their support”. This act in two years eliminated 300,000 civilians, displaced millions, and numbers continue to rise ten years later.

    Civil wars are not uncommon in Africa’s countries, but the act of genocide provides many human right and social justice issues that can be resolved. After Hitler attempted an ethnic cleansing of the Jewish people in Germany and surrounding countries during WWII, the UDHR was issued in order to protect future acts of harm towards all people, everywhere. The following are few of the violations of the human rights and their corresponding articles.

    Peace treaties were attempted, but the government would not back down until the problem is eliminated. Civilians fled to nearby country Chad to form refugee camps, but eventually Chad closed its borders and attempted to kick them back to Darfur (Article 14 “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution”). Thankfully there are organizations to assist and maintain operations for refugees; humanity is not lost completely (

    The civilians were targeted due to their support of a cause for equality of not just their own region, but for all regions in Sudan. Their support caused them to lose quality life; moving from place to place to hide from the Janjaweed militants; lack of food and water; losing family members, rape and other crimes against females. Not only were their rights to have freedom of thought (Article 18 “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in a community with others and in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”) but also the rights to a person’s well-being were violated (Article 25 “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services…”).

    Recently, the Sudanese government has been stopping humanitarian efforts helping to aid displaced civilians. They refuse to persecute any members who have committed the crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur. These circumstances leave civilians open to more attacks and more fear for their lives and the lives of their families. (Article 30 “Nothing in the UDHR may be interpreted as implying for any state, group or person the right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any rights and freedoms set forth herein”).

    Emily Barone (6050 Human Rights and Social Justice)

    The United Nations: A Manual for Schools of Social Work and the Social Work Profession, discusses the historical development and philosophical values of Universal Human Rights. The two following quotes (listed on p. 9), goes over the “Evolution, Peace and Non-violence statutes to the upholding of human rights. All are applicable to the realization of universal violence and efforts for peace-keeping in Darfur. "Peace is a distinct must be nurtured and striven for with the ultimate goal of achieving harmony within the self and with the environment." "Hatred breeds hatred, vengeance breeds vengeance. Steady resistance or non-violent pressure, on the other hand can achieve more lasting results."

    The Genocide is not close to ending, despite the efforts of many peace keeping organizations, the United Nations (UN) and the African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). African Union/United Nations operation in Darfur has a mission to help the civilians through humanitarian aid and peacekeeping strategies ( “Despite its challenges, UNAMID presents the most immediate opportunity to provide civilian protection in Darfur, facilitate open humanitarian access, and deter and investigate attacks, including those sexually violent in nature. The international community, led by the U.S., must invest diplomatic and materiel resources to ensure the force can fulfill its mandate” (

    Also, certain sites allow for day by day updates on humanitarian processes and other peacekeeping attempts, such as the following link: It is important in order to end the conflict in Darfur and to “NEVER AGAIN” make the same mistakes is to understand the efforts being made even if they are setbacks.

    You may not be the type of person to travel and join the UN in their efforts at refugee camps, but there are still way you can help, and the most important is to recognize the acts against humanity as genocide, There are petitions through (, as well as informative videos on their YouTube page: Save Darfur Coalition. Be a part of the movement; show your support by signing a petition or lobbying the government (

    “According to UN estimates, 2.7 million Darfuris remain in internally displaced persons camps and over 4.7 million Darfuris rely on humanitarian aid. Resolving the Darfur conflict is critical not just for the people of Darfur, but also for the future of Sudan and the stability of the entire region” (The Human Rights Council, 2013).

    For Further Video Information (a light-hearted story), 60 Minutes had a documentary made a few month’s back, discussing the “Lost Boys” of Sudan, 12 years later. Their story starts from the Civil War between North and South Sudan into the Genocide in Darfur. It is a two part story through YouTube based on the Emmy nominated documentary of two Sudanese boys. The links are listed below as well as an article on the story.
    Part 1
    Part 2

  72. Human Rights and Social Justice- Module 4

    One issue that I feel very strongly about is gay marriage. Article one in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “ All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. It is unfortunate and in my opinion wrong that marriage is not a human right and instead a need. Marriage has become such an important part to American society and valued among so many. Isn’t being able to marry the person you love a significant right? I believe it is and so do many other individuals who make the decision to get married every day. For the “average” straight human being it does not matter if marriage is a want or need or if it is a right, but for a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individual it does matter. If marriage was a human right all people would have the choice to marry the person they love, whether it is of the opposite or same sex. It is unjust to allow straight people to marry wherever and whenever they want, but LGBT individuals have to live in a certain state to do so or they have the option in some states to have a legal contract made up but can not get married. Even in the states where gay marriage is legal LGBT individuals face discrimination and violence everyday.
    I have included a short clip of the Ellen Degeneres show where she talks about gay marriage to John McCain who opposes gay marriage. A significant part of this clip is that Degeneres states, "My hope is one day it wont be called a contract, it will be called marriage". This is a powerful message. Even though some states recognize unions and partnerships the LGBT community is still being labeled and treated differently. Why is OK that some people get a "contract" while others get a marriage?
    I believe it is very empowering the way the LGBT community comes together to support each other and fight for what they want and deserve in life. Although it is a shame that individuals need to “fight” to marry the person they love.
    I have attached a video from the United Nations with a strong message that "one day we will build a world that is free and equal".

  73. An issue I would like to address and make sure everyone hears. Is Sexual Violence. Sexual Violence is an injustice to Society. It denies Human Rights, It denigrates Social Justice.
    Sexual Violence can include any form of unwanted, unwelcomed, forced sex or conduct. This includes but is not limited to rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual abuse. Sexual violence can happen to anyone/everyone. It is not bias to age. race, gender, sexual preferences, economics or class. The statistics below state sexual violence occurs more often against woman by men, it occurs within same gender type, and females have abused males.
    In reserach , I found the following listed as contributing factors of Sexual Violence perpetrator’s sense of power, control, and entitlement: Use of violent behavior and power to control the victim,Sense of entitlement to treating the victim with no regard or respect.Gender stereotypes reinforce the inequality between genders: There is also the issue of Culture which can be a factor in how sexual violence may be both defined and deemed acceptable.

    The stats say
    Research indicates that approximately 1 in 5 women and 1 in 33 men will be victims of sexual assault in their lifetime. from VAWA website

    . Education and advocacy on this issue is required . It is important that everyone knows there are numerous factors that contribute to sexual violence and how it occurs. It is most important that victims are not blamed or criticized, The sole responsibility should be placed on the perpetrator. Victim blaming is another injustice. Education is an excellent window of Opportunity

    In the Declaration of Human Rights we addressed the following articles:
    A-1 The right to be born free and act in the right of brotherhood
    A-2 Right to Freedom
    A-3 Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Person
    A-4 No one should be held in Slavery or servitude
    A-6 Right to Recognition
    A-7 Equal before Law without discrimination
    A-18 Freedom of thought
    A-19 Freedom of opinion and expression
    A-21 Right to take part in Government
    A-29 Duties to Community

    Here are some links to coverage at an event my students and I attended:

    At the event we learned about Senators who voted against the VAWA bill. In New Jersey we vote for it but as activity to keep the momentum going we researched and wrote those against the VAWA bill. I urge you to let you voice be heard and write them as well.

    1. To learn more about victim blaming visit.www.

      To learn more about Violence Against Women. PLEASE visit www.

      Drea Ligon- Andrea Robinson
      Human Rights and Social Justice 6050
      Summer 2013

  74. Human Rights and Social Justice- Module 4

    An issues that I find compelling is emotional abuse. The reason why I decided to blog about this topic is due to many people not really understanding the significant effect of emotional abuse. We often hear of physical abuse, and I believe that may times when someone is being emotionally abused that an not even aware of it. I believe that many people who are being emotionally abused are in denial due to it being a form of brain wash. The abuser will wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. In many cased the victim may start to blame themselves and thing they deserve to be talked down to.

    I watched a You tube video of Will Perry who is a Abuse coach. Will explains that in many relationships where someone is being emotionally abuse the public eye can not witness the verbal remarks, and that its usually done being close doors. The Abuser usually subconsciously attacks others due to not feeling good about themselves. I find this to be very interesting, because I was not aware of the abusers actions most likely being subconscious.

    Will Perry also illustrates how important it is for couples with children to seek help if relationship is abuser. Children learn from their parents, and if emotion abuse is happening you are teaching your children that it is okay, and this action may become a viscous cycle.

    I found A5 No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to be violated, because emotionally abusing someone is extremely cruel.

    A9-Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. This is most likely being violated because the victim has such low self-esteem after constantly being put down that its probably very hard for them to find an opinion.

    If you are someone you know if being emotionally abused it is a serious issue. there are professionals that should and need to be involved in helping.

  75. Janet Ricci
    Human Rights and Social Justice-Module 4

    One particular issue that I find compelling is The Russian Adoption Ban which was passed in December 2012. Russia passed the adoption ban, which was signed by President Putin, in retailation for a U.S. law developed to punish those involved in human rights violations in Russia. The U.S. law is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Moscow lawyer who died in a Russian prison after uncovering a tax fraud scam by top officials. The law denies visas to those officials who were accused of human rights violations and freezes their assets in the United States. Many people believe Russia passed the adoption ban in retaliation to the "Magnitsky" bill that the U.S. passed. However, Russia claims the adoption ban is a result of multiple cases of Russian children who have been abused and died in the U.S. Although, the reality is a child is much more liklier to be subjected to abuse and neglect in Russia than in the United States. Since 1998, more than 10,000 Russian children have been adopted in the U.S.and approximately 19 children have died. In Russia, approximately 1,200 children have died during that same time period. Although one incident of child abuse is unacceptable, the numbers among the 2 countries do not even compare.
    Regardless of the ongoing political debate between Russia and the United States, those that are hurt the most are the thousands upon thousands of orphans who are stuck in Russian orphanages, with no hope of ever being adopted. Many people believe Putin is placing politics before the needs of children. These children are left hopeless and will never experience the love of a family. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14 states: The Right to Seek a Safe Place to Live. If we are frightened of being badly treated in our own country, we all have the right to run away to another country to be safe. Article 25 states: The Right to Food and Shelter for All. Mothers and children, people who are old, unemployed or disabled, and all people have the right to be cared for. Sadly, Russian orphans are being denied these rights. In my opinion, these children are subjected to injustice, unfairness and oppression.

  76. An issue I find compelling is the bullying of kids based on their sexual orientation. Over the past few years I have seen more and more kids on the news who have committed suicide due to being bullied in school or over the internet due to their sexual orientation. There was a case back in 2012 of a 14-year-old Rafael Morelos from Washington who hanged himself in January of 2012 because he was bullied on a daily basis from kids he went to school with. He was taunted and threatened by his classmates and unfortunately nothing g was done to prevent his suicide from happening and his life was taken too soon. Rafael was one of four noted suicides that took place in January 2012 alone. The other victims included Jeffrey Fehr, 18, who hanged himself in his home in California, Philip Parker, 14 from Tennessee, and Eric James Borgess, 19. Children can be very hurtful with their words and voice their opinions too strongly. I feel the way our nation portrays being gay, lesbian or transsexual as not “right” makes people believe that it is okay to bully others because of their sexual orientation. We continuously say that being with someone of the same sex is wrong and we teach our younger generations that its not okay to act that way they are going to continue to bully others and make them feel worthless. Something needs to change.

    Looking up some facts, “according to the gay bullying statistics from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, about one fourth of all students from elementary age through high school are the victims of bullying and harassment while on school property because of their race, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion or sexual orientation. Unfortunately the primary reason for bullying is due to something that may set themselves apart from the norm, and that includes sexual orientation.”
    “According to recent gay bullying statistics, gay and lesbian teens are two to three times as more likely to commit teen suicide than other youths.”

    Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
    Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
    Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
    Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
    Article 7: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

  77. Human Rights and Social Justice
    Human Trafficking

    “If you look at the peak of the slave trade, probably in the 1770s, 1780s, there were maybe 80,000 slaves who were transferred from Africa to the New World, 80,000 per year. Now, according to State Department statistics, international trafficking of people, not, you know, slaves of all kinds, 800,000 per year. That's not even including the people like Srey Rath who were trafficked within their borders. So that's how bad it is.”

    This statement was made by Sheryl WuDunn, who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, on a NPR radio interview with Michael Martin.

    Although I knew the numbers were high, I was appalled to find out just how high – 800,000 people per year! also reports that 600,000-800,000 people per year are trafficked. The highest amount is due to sexual exploitation, while the second is domestic forced labor. However, slavery exists throughout many industries such as construction, restaurants, sweatshops and health care. also reports that human trafficking makes 10 billion dollars per year which is the third highest volume for a criminal enterprise.

    This is in direct violation of Article 4: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude. Slavery and the slave trade are prohibited” of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, as I read through the articles, it’s really in violation of just about every one. I feel outraged that a problem that goes against every article in the UDHR that was agreed upon more than 60 years ago is still such a universal tragedy. Every country has laws against slavery, yet slavery exists in every country. I believe that the United Nations, individual countries and civilians all have a responsibility to eradicate this problem.

    I liked the website below because it outlines steps that should be taken by people at various levels.

    The U.S. Department of State also has a list of suggestions

  78. Taking a stand against racism in 2013

    So today, while scrolling down my Facebook “wall” I noticed a post about a Black, Nursing Student, working as a server in a TN Red Lobster, that was allegedly left a note on a receipt, by a customer giving her no tip and calling her a Nigger.

    Here is the article:

    I along with many of my friends joined in our outrage and sought answers on how the hell this still happens in 2013, in America, to our children.

    It appears we are not alone in our attempts to get answers, justice, fairness, equality and accountability. The story is all over the major news media and details are surfacing about the events that have since taken place.

    First of all, the customer denies leaving the note and the handwriting disparities also cast doubt on whether or not the customer is the perpetrator. Here is an alleged reply by the customer:

    Secondly, and quite troubling, the employee was allegedly reprimanded for posting the image on facebook. Although the outcome is still unknown:

    What is known, for a fact, is that someone had the hatred within him or herself to even write those comments on the receipt. But what are the positives that we can take from this incident?

    The nation took note, reacted with disgust, seeks answers and cares.
    The Social Network took over, broadened awareness and aligned many of us against the evil and oppression that still rears it’s ignorant head.
    Discussion and dialogue resulted in understanding, not rage, investigation, not emotional reaction or violence.

    50 years ago – this would have been considered “normal.” Not today. And for that little glimmer of hope I am greatfull.

    Will shall see how this all plays out in the media. But in the mean time I am hopeful.


    Dan Gaita

  79. Although I have mixed feelings surrounding the legalization of Marijuana I believe that mandatory drug tests are illegal, unconstitutional and against our rights. They typically monitor Marijuana and Cocaine/opiates however they do not monitor all/most addictive substances. Alcohol has been considered more damaging than Marijuana for quite sometime. This article released by The Huffington Post goes well in depth.

    I guess I am passionate about this issue because I truly believe we have the "right" to do with ourselves whatever we deem fit. If you are recovering from Cancer and choose to ingest marijuana while applying for jobs, there are several areas of the market that you do not qualify for anymore. In the State of Connecticut, if you are able to obtain a medicinal marijuana card and use Marijuana for your ailments, you can still be removed from employment if your employer decides to do a mandatory test.

    I do believe that you should not be under the influence of any narcotic/drug/alcohol substance while at work. But while you are at home I do not understand why you couldn't use Marijuana in a recreational setting.

    Article 23.
    (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
    (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

    Article 27.
    (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

  80. I am a mother of five children. My son, who is 14 years old and currently in the 10th grade, is classified with other learning impaired and diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). He is currently in a 12-1-1 classroom (12 children 1 teacher 1 aid) and is listed with an IEP (Individualized Education Plan. In NY State, ALL children are help to the same expectations when it comes to the testing. Children with disabilities that are in special classes are held accountable for the same testing that a child in an honors class would have to take. These children learn at a slower pace, are usually given special instructions on a regular exam and are allowed more time. On state standard testing, they are tested at the same level as every other child and expected to know the same information at the same level. In regards to these "rules" set forth by the state, my child will graduate with an IEP diploma in turn, he will have to go back to school and obtain his GED in order to hold a standard high school diploma that will "count" as a "normal" high school graduate. This is ridiculous. These children are forced to take these tests that the state is demanding in all of the schools now. The districts are trying to accommodate all children as best they can to prepare them for the tests, trying to give each child a fair advantage, yet the state keeps pushing higher and higher standards making it almost impossible for children of even higher education levels to succeed at the standards they believe is acceptable. In viewing this article, there was a study done on children with and without a learning disability and the schools they attend within the 50 states and the DOC. The statistics in the graphs are appalling. Most of the states, with the exception of a few, give children with a disability a shot at making it to pass. New York however does not. This can be viewed in the second graph.

    My son, along with every other child that this applies to is being denied their Human Rights as set forth in Articles 2 and 26 sections 1,2, and 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 2 states that EVERYONE is entitled to all rights and freedoms in the declaration. Article 26 states that EVERYONE has a right to an education and not only that but one that but this education is directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The declaration states that education shall promote an understanding and tolerance yet the State seems to have no understanding of a child with a learning disability or even a tolerance to deal with the issue at hand. As a parent, I am supposed to have a right to choose the education my child receives, however if I do not allow him to except the expectations and follow the rules, my son will suffer at the hands of the State and its “fundamental educational rules”

    I want to change this law… I want to start a petition and create a bill that ensures every child regardless of educational advantage and/or disadvantage is entitle to the same respect and advantages throughout their educational career and the same outcome (in reference to a standard diploma) for putting forth the same effort in regards to testing in which they are forced to take any way!!!!!
    I will one day succeed in this!!!!!

  81. The issue that I chose for this assignment was hunger in America. Watching videos and reading articles about this topic, I came to a very sickening realization. 1 in 6 people are struggling with hunger in America. To me that is an awful statistic. I can not believe that with all of the resources that the United States have that we would have that many people living in this country who are struggling with hunger.

    This is one of the more basic human rights to be able to thrive and have a successful life. Article 25 states, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” There are many rights that are lacking in Article 25, hunger being a main one. Even if there is a family or person that is not able to make ends meet, that is not a reason for a person or child to go with out food. While there is a great deal of hunger in this country there is also a great deal of waste. I society could get together and see that this is an issue that does not need to be one, then community by community it could be solved.

    Watching videos of people struggling with hunger broke my heart. Realizing how many families are struggling with this me realize major steps need to be taken to end the battle on hunger for good.

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  84. Food Justice

    Today in my community is an event called the Food Justice Summit.

    The website for the event states that,” Food Justice is a transformation in our food system leading to comprehensive local food distribution, care for the whole community, stewardship for the environment, and above all else, elimination of disparities and inequities in healthy food access and nutrition education.”

    According to Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “ (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

    I think of Article 25 when I read today that House of Representatives just passed a bill cutting billions of dollars to the Foodstamp program. “It’s a sad day in the people’s House when the leadership brings to the floor one of the most heartless bills I have ever seen,” said Representative James McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts. “It’s terrible policy trapped in a terrible process.”

    It is very frustrating to think of what this bill will do to keep people in poverty and how many people will not have adequate access to food and will go hungry. So many people in our society struggle to make ends meat as it is. Their meager salary going to pay bill such as rent. Food will come last in their budget and what is left over will be insufficient to feed their families. The Foodstamp program helps so many families who may now be cut from the program when this bill is enacted.

    In reality children will be most effected by these cuts. First Focus Campaign for Children states,
    “Yes, the federal government has budget problems, but children didn’t cause them, and cutting anti-hunger investments is the wrong way to solve them,” said First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley. “It’s simple math – nearly half of every SNAP dollar goes to children, so this plan takes food away from hungry kids.”
    The website states that programs such as SNAP (supplemental Nutrition assistance program) Education which helps parents learn to prepare healthy meals and use their SNAP benefits wisely will have funding cut. It would also weaken programs like the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program which helps schools provide fresh produce to low income communities.
    This bill goes against Article 25 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and saddens me. Food Justice is an important issue for us to address on all levels in our communities and on the national level. While the Food Justice summit I will attend today is looking towards the future and searching for solutions, our government is creating legislation that will ultimately hurt our communities and make it more difficult for low income families to survive.

    Toby Girard

  85. “What does it mean it mean, to say that health care is a right when over 40 million people in the United States and most of the world’s population do not have access to healthcare” (Berwick, Davidoff, Hiatt and Smith 616)

    I wanted to bring up the debate surrounding healthcare because it is certainly in the forefront of my mind as it is for most Americans with 2014 quickly approaching. In my current job I am constantly monitoring the most up to date regulations pertaining to healthcare legislation so I get to witness throughout the day the constant debate that is going on between our politicians on healthcare. It amazes me that our country still has yet to stand behind the concept of healthcare for all and although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law it is still being hard fought every step of the way. As recently, as yesterday September 20th the House of Representatives yet again approved a bill to defund the healthcare law by placing it in the middle of two other national crises, the fight over federal funding and the debt ceiling. This is over 40 times that the House Republicans have voted on funding or defunding all or part of the ACA.
    Trust me I recognize that there are still many flaws that need to be worked out but that would be and has been the case with any type of significant reform. It also amazed me to learn that we are the only industrialized nation without healthcare. Despite the number of uninsured Americans both adults and children, it still is being debunked by a large percentage of politicians, business people, lawmakers and citizens. In the state of Texas alone, over 24% of the population is uninsured as of 2012 with over 850,000 children and without health insurance.
    This issue focuses on Article 25 (1) from the UDHR-Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services. Health care as a right is also part of The Tavistock principles- People have a right to health and health care. The Tavistock principles were devised as an “ethical compass for all those in healthcare, including patients” (BMJ Volume 323: Healthcare is also discussed in the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights under Articles 9 and 11 and 12. I believe strongly in the belief that healthcare is a human right and I stand behind the President and his intention to ensure this becomes a reality.

  86. As I woke up this morning I decided to procrastinate and watch a movie. It was not some action movie it was a movie named Ella Enchanted and in it Ella had an obedient spell placed on her where she did whatever she was ordered to do by others. Normally I might not have watched this movie, but I remained for some reason. As I watched it had me thinking about others who felt as though they did not have a choice to do anything other than what they were told to do. This would be a form of slavery and we know as we look around the world that this goes on all the time in the general population. I then started to think about those that are forced into labor of some kind where they literally had no choice. Article 4 in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” We hear about human trafficking, but what do we do about it? Here is an organization that is working for this to end. If we as advocates work hard towards upholding these basic of human rights around the globe then we will have a much more peaceful world. The unrest that will happen when we uphold these rights will be from the power hungry not the masses. We need to make sure that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the blueprint for how we address others and their needs.

  87. An issue I wish to cover is women selling their bodies to survive and the abuse they receive. I recently came into contact with a prostitute that had attempted suicide because she could no long face the mental and physical abuse she received. She had been selling her body for money and drugs for a majority of her life, she is in her early 30's. She doesn't have custody of her children, which she had with her "manager." I was in complete shock when this woman opened up to me about her experiences and what she did for a living. She claimed that she has been in trouble with the law multiple times and has not received any help to change her way of life and improve her health (I can't say if this is true or not). However, if she has not then this I see has a failure to enforce human rights upon someone sincerely in need of assistance.
    This very unfortunate case I feel deals with many articles under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Those being article 5; No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Women who are in the role of prostitution face physical and mental abuse from their "pimps" or "managers." The individual I spoke with was scared to be late because she knew she would be beaten. This falls under article 5 because no one should face cruel and unusual punishment for any reason, these women on a routine basis face cruel and unusual punishment for any wrong doing.
    Under article 25 it states(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection. No one should have to sell their body to provide food, shelter, clothing for themselves. This violates the human rights of overall well-being. The children that are born into this unfortunate situation should not be exposed to it either. Article 25 defends this. I will admit that I was naive towards this situation because I have never come face to face with it until now. My heart ached for the woman I talked with as well as for her children that did not choose this life. This link provides access to programs acquired to assist women with steering away from prostitution.

  88. Domestic violence is disturbing and pervasive. It is powerful and damaging, yet sometimes extremely difficult to detect and protect against. There are several reasons for this. First, it primarily happens behind closed doors, inside households. It is purposefully hidden from public view. Second, there is a spectrum of “severity” and modes of abuse. Violent and oppressive acts can be as subtle as private language between a couple which is demeaning and controlling, to as blatant as physical assault. All actions on this spectrum comprise the totality of “domestic violence”, and all are important and damaging. Third, one of the products of domestic violences is the devaluing of the victim such that he or she does not feel safe or worthy to come forward and seek help. Instead, the victim aids in the perpetuation of the secret.

    Domestic violence is progressive and self-perpetuating. “Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their partners and children when they become adults.” (National Coalition Against Domestic Domestic violence can affect anyone; men, women, all classes, all races, all sexualities, however, it disproportionately affects women. One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, and 85% of domestic violence victims are women. (National Coalition Against Domestic

    Several human rights articulated in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights are violated in the event of domestic violence. Specifically, Articles 1, 2, 3, 5, 12, 17, 18, 19, and 25, and others, depending upon individual circumstances.

    The high incidence of domestic violence against women, in my opinion, is the direct result of a patriarchal society in which men have been allowed to dominate, control, and devalue women. Feminism has forced, in some cases, the domination of women to go “underground”, behind the domestic curtains. That is not to say that domestic violence hasn’t occurred for centuries, however, I believe the context of it has modified somewhat in response to the loss of control that is felt by some men in the wake of the emergence of more opportunities for women.

  89. The issue that has been coming up in the news recently and has personally made me want to advocate for it has been the issue of women’s rights. As a woman this is an issue that touches close to home for me. Women face many inequalities even here in the United States, it is not just one issue. Women still receive less pay than males in the workplace, which stated by, women still only receive 81 cents to every dollar that a man earns. While this is an improvement to say 50 years ago there is still no equal pay. This inequality of pay is a violation of A23-Right to equal pay for equal work. Along these same lines women still have difficulty in the workplace when they want maternity leave. In 2012 a Wallingford police officer had to file a complaint against her department for refusing to give her light duty while pregnant and instead they forced her to take unpaid leave during her pregnancy Fortunately Connecticut is one of the less than 10 states in the US that protects women’s jobs when they want to go on maternity leave. While this story was a success for women’s rights it is scary to think that less than 10 states provide this protection for women. In A25 it states motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care, this means that even women who are pregnant should have their jobs protected and that their current health status should not be held against them. Women rights still have a ways to go in becoming equal in the workplace.

    The other women’s issue that has been in the news a lot lately has been in the area of rape. I was outraged to hear this past election when a senate candidate Todd Akin claimed, “In cases of legitimate rape a woman can prevent a pregnancy from occurring.” the fact that this man was running for a government position and does not realize how a woman’s body works and that pregnancy can occur whether a woman wants it or not Men like Akin are essentially legitimizing rape and belittling its effects on a person. Rape can definitely be classified under A5- No one shall be subjected to torture, inhumane, or degrading treatment, rape cannot be marginalized it is definitely degrading and inhumane to a victim. In Montana an appeal is currently going on in the case of a 49 year-old teacher raping his 14 year-old student The judge in the case sentenced the teacher to 30 days, only 30 days. I believe this is a violation of A8- Everyone has the right to an affective remedy by the competent national tribunals for violating fundamental rights granted to them. This is another case in which someone has marginalized violence against women.

    While I know there are many other places in the world that have greater women’s issues than those in the United States, I chose the issues that really hit close to home and that have outraged me. I would love to work to change women’s rights within the United States and then on a broader scale.

  90. The sex trade and human trafficking are not usually affiliated with North America but it should be. As I am typing this and you are reading it, Aboriginal peoples in Canada are being sold and bought, and have been for almost a decade. Christine Starke, an American researcher, has been conducting various types of research, in hopes to raise awareness of this issue and gain more funding for programs to help these victims. Starke states, “Native Canadians of the First Nation clans have been being bought and sold on board U.S. ships for as little as a bottle of scotch. The First Nations women come from Thunder Bay, Ontario, and have been sold on ships in the harbor at Duluth, Minnesota. The spot is infamous among First Nation women for sex trafficking. Young girls, women and even babies are sold in exchange for alcohol, money, drugs or even a place to sleep.”

    I feel as if the victims of human trafficking and sex trade, are not even viewed as human by those who are exploiting them. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, specifically A4--No one held in slavery or servitude, A5--No one subjected to inhumane treatment, and A25--Right to adequate standard of living and special care for motherhood and childhood, have been completely disregarded.
    Some individuals may feel like their only option, for an income source, is to turn to prostitution, which makes me think that their quality of living was less than adequate in the first place. According to the U.S. census reports, “American Indian and Alaskan poverty rates are the highest of all other race groups. At 27%, these indigenous groups have a poverty rate over 10% points higher than the national average (around 14%).” Now doesn’t it make you think about where these victims would be if A4 was upheld in the first place?

  91. I would first like to say, that if you do not agree with abortion, contraception, or any other of the reproductive choices supported by Planned Parenthood, I suggest you read no further.

    Since the 1970’s, Planned Parenthood has received a majority of its funding from the government. President Richard Nixon allocated “Title X” funding, to provide contraception, education and, information to patients, practitioners and citizens. These funds are supplemented by Medicaid, donations, grants and, partner programs. (

    Since its inception, Planned Parenthood has never received government funding for abortion. Abortions are paid for by independent programs, insurances, and monies of the patient. Planned Parenthood, as the provider, will perform the abortion and provide both preventative and, after care services. Again, these services are not funded by the government. (

    Since 2001, President George W. Bush, conservative Republicans, and Tea Party members, have sought to end Title X and Medicaid funding. Through numerous media campaigns, and legislations this political group presents Planned Parenthood as an unethical organization, whose goal it is to threaten families and, support promiscuous women. (

    In fact, Planned Parenthood’s mission to support the “ fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility, regardless of the individual's income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence.” (

    According to writer, Justin Wolfers, “the rich have fewer kids than the poor.”( For whatever reason, his collected statistics for all cohorts, since the early 1900’s, show this same pattern. This would seem counter intuitive, as the poor likely have less financial means to support their larger number of children. It is also possible that this difference is culture. In truth, it doesn’t really matter why.

    What matters is that it is both historically and statistically proven. Government health programs are services are designed to serve those who cannot afford private healthcare. Why, then, should individuals who receive the benefits of Planned Parenthood, have their healthcare taken away from them? Conservative politicians cite moral conflicts. In general, they disagree with tax payer dollars providing contraception, STD screenings and sexual education to women, most of who are above the age of 20. (

    However, “Seven out of 10 women said they had used some form of contraception at their first incidence of intercourse, and use was directly correlated with the education level of the woman’s mother.”( Nicholas Bakalar) That is to say, girls of well-educated mothers had a higher incidence of birth control use. If we can agree, that it is typical for well-educated individuals to have better paying jobs, and thereby more money in general, than this means that wealthier women, are using more birth control.

  92. continued....

    Why is that? Article 16.3 in the UDHR states “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” ( Whose family is being protected, if control over the woman’s, and families, fertility, depends on how much money one has? What kind of access to education one has? One of Planned Parenthoods primary objectives it to not only prevent unwanted pregnancies, and thereby undo financial burden, but to educate women and families, before they ever have to cross that bridge.
    And, without adequate access to sexual and reproductive education, how are those in a low economic status to feel socially secure when they are exposed to S.T.D’s, involved in an unwanted pregnancy, or just want to regulate their fertility? Why are those, whose wives and daughters regularly use birth control, allowed to morally object to the use of government funding to provide the same benefits to others?

    Article 22 of the UDHR states
    “Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.”

    In my opinion, the defunding of Planned Parenthood, would blatantly ignore every aspect of this article, by causing the social insecurity of all women and families who seek to control their fertility, but do not have the financial means to do so on their own.
    In summary, I believe that women’s rights are never, truly safe. It took almost 30 years for the political war against them to resurface, and this essay highlights only some of the many attacks I uncovered in my research. I believe it is both unethical, and counter-productive, to do away with organizations like Planned Parenthood. Without access to birth control, STD screening, and abortion (again, separately funded, but physically provided) services, unstable economic populations would face innumerable health and social risks. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.

    Here is a list of the websites cited above, as well as others with great information:

  93. The issue I find compelling is gay marriage. At this time, only 13 states have legalized same sex marriage licenses. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is limited on where they can live if they want to be married.

    I do not have many close friends that are within the LGBT community nor do I have any family members that are. Working for a catering company I have had the opportunity to work at several weddings and wedding receptions of same sex couples. Witnessing one marriage ceremony brought me to tears. These two women had known each other for 42 years and had been in a committed relationship to each other for 36 years. To witness the love and happiness they shared with each other and the love and support of their friends and family members was so very emotional to watch. To know they were finally afforded the right to marry each other in their home state was beautiful. On the other hand, it was infuriating to know they had to wait so long and fight so hard to get that right that has always been afforded to heterosexual couples. Why is it that LGBT can only be married in 13 states?

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

    Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal, are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

    Article 16: (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality, or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

    The below video is about Judge Vaughn Walkers ruling that overturned California’s same sex marriage ban 8/4/2010

  94. Would you be surprised if I told you it is illegal in several states for an atheist to hold public office in the United States? To be fair, Article IV, paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution states that no religious test should be required to hold public office which trumps state constitutions; however, this does not mean that atheists have not had problems coming into public office. There is only one member of Congress who identifies as an atheist, yet in a recent study 15% of Americans identify as "non-religious". Granted a religious person will not make every decision in law-making based upon their beliefs but atheists in America are decidedly underrepresented. Compared to countries like Malaysia where a person must report under specified religions to be allowed access to education or healthcare, or Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran where it is legal to execute an atheist, the fact that an atheist cannot be a witness for public trials in Arkansas seems trivial; and in comparison, it is. However in all of these instances human rights are being violated. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights issued by the United Nations in 1948 lays out rights that all humans are entitled to solely because they are human. Articles 18 through 21 are violated in regards to this issue. A18 states "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion" and A19 "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression". If humans have the right to practice a religion then they also have the right to choose not to practice one as well . A20 and A21 both have to do with government, "No one may be compelled to belong to an association" and "Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives" respectively. Every country associated with the United Nations has agreed that these rights are inalienable for every human being yet this doesn't stop the atrocities that happen all over the world in the name of religion. Atheists in America have it much easier than Atheists in the Eastern hemisphere, but there are still challenges they face every day, even if the stories are not crowding the front page of the newspaper.

  95. Human rights violations and discrimination against people with mental health disorders is an issue I find compelling. These violations range from lack of access or forced treatment to inhumane care and living conditions of psychiatric institutions. Due to misconceptions and stigma attached to mental disorders people with psychiatric conditions are often neglected, assumed to be weak and incapable of making decisions for themselves. Therefore they are often discriminated against in the areas of employment, housing, and education. These violations hit really close to home as I watched my aunt suffer from schizophrenia. She had no choice over the treatment she received, was left alone in a cold bare room for day’s at a time and treated as if she was an inconvenience. Fortunately, she has family who is able to care for her at home, but it makes me wonder what would have happened to her if she didn’t. Who would look out for her best interest?

    A5-. No one shall be subjected to shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
    A25. (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being.

    A report on mental health, WHO (2001) reported: Human Rights commissions found 'appalling and unacceptable' conditions when they visited several psychiatric hospitals in Central America and India during the last five years. Similar conditions exist in many other psychiatric hospitals in other regions, in both industrialized and developing countries. They include filthy living conditions, leaking roofs, overflowing toilets, eroded floors, and broken doors and windows. Most of the patients visited were kept in pajamas or naked. Some were penned into small areas of residential wards where they were left to sit, pace, or lie on the concrete floor all day ... many patients were observed tied to beds ... Patients were referred to as inmates.

    People with mental disorders are a vulnerable group. Laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing Amendments Act, Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act were enacted to protect the rights of people with mental illnesses.

    The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a nonprofit mental health watchdog, responsible for helping to enact more than 150 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive practices. CCHR has long fought to restore basic inalienable human rights to the field of mental health.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) gives support to countries in developing and implementing progressive mental health laws that promotes and protects the rights of people with mental disorders.

    “All persons with a mental illness, or who are being treated as such persons, shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person…There shall be no discrimination on the grounds of mental illness…” UN Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness, GA resolution 46/119 of 17 December 1991

  96. Eliminating stigma on suicides and raising awareness
    Article 29.
    • (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
    • (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
    • (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

  97. My name is Rachel Smith and I am currently enrolled in the Master’s program of Social Work at Fordham University. I am writing this to educate you on the increase of suicides. It has been two years since I have lost my uncle to suicide and four years since I have lost one of my close friends to suicide. Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death among adults and accounted for 30,559 deaths among people aged 18 or older. This means that more people die from suicides than HIV/AIDS or homicide. That does not include adolescents or those that were not reported. That statistic alone shows that this is an undeniable social problem that needs to be addressed. Although these statistics show this problem is affecting our society, we fail to take action. To my understanding there are restrictions to covering suicides in the media and I believe this is creating and maintaining a stigma on suicides. . Those who commit suicide or have suicidal behaviors may suffer from Bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, drug and or alcohol dependence, Schizophrenia, or may have just encountered stressful life situations. As a human problem, suicide affects us all, not just the victim. I believe it is going to take caring and empathetic understanding to instill hope and make a difference. However how can we bring about change when our culture does not allow us to do so? Our culture often avoids the topic of death, labeling it as a universal unwelcome event. By allowing media coverage and reporting suicides in a responsible manner we are attempting to reduce the likelihood of imitation suicide and raising awareness. I believe suicides should be addressed with dignity and respect, not completely avoided. First, allowing media coverage would eliminate stigma and will allow victims to look for help. The victims will no longer associate it outside the social norm, where they will be shunned or excommunicated. Second, if suicide was no longer stigmatized as a crime but as a human tragedy or disease, it would allow others to become connected and empathize with victims thereby, providing human solutions to get to the real issues leading to death. Many people will be affected if restrictions on media coverage continue. While our culture completely neglects the cries of help form those suffering suicidal thoughts, survivors of attempted suicides, victims of suicide, and those who have lost someone dear to them by a completed suicide, we are missing out on opportunities to educate and inform the public. By not addressing suicides in the media, society fails to view it as a public health problem. Suicides are not printed in newspapers, addressed in magazines, reviewed in the news, nor talked about amongst our people. But, I ask you why? Why, must suicide be looked down on and viewed as, as a crime? By labeling it as a crime we are isolating and criminalizing people with mental health disorders. Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain. Suicide is neither wrong nor right. An alternative to limiting suicide coverage would be to universally enforce responsible media coverage. Money needs to be funded in order to facilitate and create educational programs to increase awareness and educate public on the increase epidemic of suicides and ways to prevent them. I thank you for your time and consideration.

  98. It is 2013, we have an African American President of the United States and yet men still make more money than women for doing the same job. According to The Universal Declaration of Human rights: Article 23(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. I can only imagine what Eleanor Roosevelt would say today if she were still alive. Women make .77 cents while men make 1.00. It may not seem like a huge difference, but what about for a single mother on minimum wage? The Human Rights Declaration was created to avoid such injustices, but sadly many issues are not resolved.

  99. Male doctors make more money than female doctors according to The US News Article listed below. Should women ask for a discount in medical school? (Yikes!) It is absurd that this issue still exists today! The President has brought attention to the issue as he has two daughters of his own. Even thought we have the Human Rights Declaration there is still not equal pay for women. Women have the right to vote, reproductive rights, they are heads of major companies and we still do not make the same as men. Yes, there are bigger issues in this world such as homelessness, but how can we teach young girls to be anything they want to be if we are still treated as less than men...still a lot of work to do.

  100. here is the article:

  101. Please refer to this article first:

    Then read:
    UDHR-Article 12
    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

    With what i have witnessed in the time since the D.C naval shootings, in regards to the defamation of character against the shooter, it makes the event all the more heartbreaking when considering him amongst the victims. Aaron Alexis was continually seeking help in the time leading up to the shooting. Rather than entering into a chasm of debate on background checks and gun control, is there anyone else mired in cynicism with regard to this culture's inability to avoid pigeon-holing mental illness as a character flaw? i stand in deep remorse for all the victims of this kind of event, but i include the shooter amongst that list of victims.

  102. I want to bring to everyone’s attention another senseless, vicious hate crime of a black 8 year old little boy named D.J. Maiden who was shot in the face by a 46 year old white man Brian Cloninger with no apparent reason. Many individuals will question will wonder why I bring up placed emphasis on color and classified as a hate crime. I have really come to terms that there is an evident and unambiguous validity to the children today that are being nonsensically, recklessly but intentionally killed look like me, Black. Many still struggling through the post-Trayvon Martin aftermath only intensifies the many notions that it’s not a war on today’s children but Black children are getting the rough end of the stick when any type of equality comes into play when referring to justice. The actions behind the very justice system that is set in place to protect and uphold laws is seemingly proving more and more that a black person’s life does not mean as much as an individual of another race. Consider this: D.J. a little boy playing tag outside, goes back in to get a toy and heads back outside where he shot at twice and takes a bullet to his face and runs home holding his jaw in his hands full of blood. The shooter is seen waving his gun around before this takes place. Brian Cloninger shoots little D. J. and then responds to a witness “yup, I shot him” and is arrested and released on bond and charged for “injury to a child.” Now, let’s differentiate circumstances here really quick; you have Trayvon Martin walking home from the store back to his father’s home where her belonged and was pursued and gunned( Stand your ground does not support pursuing anyone) down because George Zimmerman suspected he was where he should not have been. He was also released. However, Zimmerman was not initially charged until a political smokescreen surfaced of young college advocates marching, protesting and fighting against that travesty in the most effective, tactical and law-abiding way they knew how. However, I know Al Sharpton is an Obama functionary and Zimmerman’s arrest was no more a campaign stunt so that Obama did not suffer at the poles from receiving backlash from voters due to Zimmerman being on the street. continued

  103. As a Black I do realize that he also and I respect him greatly, Sharpton is part of the power structure as well this is not only pertaining to those people who are White and have power. Ironically, Cloninger did not reside in that neighborhood, was waving a gun around and there was no Zimmerman vigilante justice lurking to take him down, police or sheriffs to run him down with their patrol cars doing 80 mph or there were no gun toting “hood or ghetto thugs” that gang bang and kill each other each day any way (reiterating how some people in that area are characterized by others) type posted up to initiate some type of street justice. If there is a role reversal of color of the victim and the killer the circumstances would have clearly been vastly different. The justice system and the way these types of occurrences are handled are indeed the term “justice is blind” but have a 20/20 sight when a Black person stands before and this is very biased and an imbalanced system that needs to be removed modification is not an option anymore in my opinion. I say this because these laws were written by, created for and am in the best interest for those other than Black people to begin with. Cloninger should without a doubt have been held without bond and charges with exactly what that was and that is attempted murder and all the other violent offenses when it comes to a child. I have a real concise issue with the law and its application because are being written by those that don’t have Black people’s best interest at heart, so how in the world could it possibly work for us. I have surfaced blog after blog after blog on this story and many other stories similar to this one and I the issue of racism, police brutality, classism, especially amongst Black people have definitely been the elephant in the room for many individuals for a long time and must addressed and not ignored or handled as if it’s nonexistent. continued

  104. I have read many other blogs in contrast of what has taken place with D.J .Maiden, Trayvon Martin, Jonathon Ferrell (Former FAMU football player shot and killed by police) , other Black men on a regular basis and there has been situations brought to the light where it has actually been a case where a Black person defends themselves against a White person by shooting and killing them and supposedly benefited from the law but the thing is that is only an exception and you cannot use exception to legitimize the system. An exception does not invalidate the rule and after I did research on one of the cases where a Black man shot and killed a White contractor on his property because he tried to attack him. The neighborhood seen the attack and neighbors even vouched and gave sworn statements as to what happened. However, a year later one of the state prosecutor’s decided bring charges upon the Black for standing his ground and shooting a violent make on his property trying to attack him, who so happened to be White. What is evident is that this country is not run and governed by law it is run by “POWER”. We as a people have to get the attention of the power structure. The UDHR has articles that I will say quickly taps the surface of what should be upheld when speaking in terms of human rights but does not take hold and extensively cover all angels that should be covered when speaking in terms of article 1, 2, 3, 7: Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights .They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty. Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination”. The unfortunate but realistic aspect of this all is there will be more Trayvon’s and D.J.’s and more the likely be utilized in case law to go off of for other cases. One of my ancestors said “The limits of tyrants, are prescribed by themselves, no, but by the people they oppress. Those against will only go as far as you let them (Frederick Douglas).

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 7, Retrieved on September 19, 2013 from


    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:
    “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of ALL [emphasis mine] members of the human FAMILY [emphasis mine] is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
    Article 3. Everyone has the right to ‘life,’ [emphasis mine], liberty and security of person.

    The above picture depicts an image of a living human, albeit, while still protected by her mother’s body as she continues to grow strong. As one can see, this baby, while not living yet independent of her mother, is already able to grasp the finger of the doctor, who is performing surgery on this child.

    The above picture depicts an image of a baby who was ‘aborted’ in his 20th week stage development.

    The picture above is an image of a baby who was born prematurely in her 20th week stage of development.
    In my fourth week of my studies on Human Rights and Social Justice, I have read about many atrocities; however, I have not read anything about Human Rights and unborn children. I have read about human rights violations pertaining to women, crimes against women, etc., and I have read about women’s rights. I have also read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be found in many professions ethical codes that include the medical and social work profession; however, thus far, I have yet to read about the rights of the unborn and its relationship to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
    Many of my required readings during the past few weeks regarding Human Rights and Social Justice advocating for a Utopian like society where human rights and social justice should prevails, I have not read anything in relation to the authors views on protecting the unborn in relationship to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Perhaps this is coming; but in the meantime, I find it equally hypocritical that many writers on Human Rights, who are readily able to identify US Government hypocritical practices, or lack of practices on human rights (that I agree with), are unable themselves [authors] to recognize their own hypocrisy by failing to discuss the irreprehensible acts of torture on our smallest and most innocent of family members.
    (The pictures would have spoken more loudly than my words, but all you have to do is google images of 20th wk abortion and 20th week premature babies. I challenge you to look and educate yourself about the facts of what abortion is ... a sanitized word for murder.) Too many proponents of abortion, as I once was, never saw these images. I was ignorant. I was told that the unborn was just a "cluster of cells."

  106. Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. This right includes the freedom to change his/her religions or belief, and freedom, either alone or in a community with others and in public or private, to manifest his/her religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
    Although this is a human right not everyone has it. Many countries continue to rage war against each other due to this and fear being able to practice their beliefs. Everyone has the right to believe what they choose and practice what they choose. The image I chose was a group of Christians linking hands while Muslims pray. I think this image shows how far we have come and chose to protect those that believe differently than them. For me this image is powerful. As a catholic, I have no issues with other religions or with what others choose to believe as long as it doesn’t harm others. I feel as though this image signifies the effort to protect those that think and have different values from ourselves.

  107. When researching situations which I believe are unjust, I came across the Three Strikes Law which is when a person commits two felonies and on the third felony they are out. This law drastically increases jail time for a person who has committed three crimes. When first learning about this I thought it may be a good idea to help people stop committing these types of crimes, but when I looked further into some of the cases I found it can be unjust for a lot of the prisoners. A lot of the crimes that I found were situations that are not good for the community and are wrong, but the amount of jail time people are serving I do not feel is right. According to “Santos Reyes got the three-strike sentence for taking the written portion of the driver’s license test for his cousin, who could drive, but cannot read.” He served 26-life due to the three strike law (

    Another instance that this law can be unjust is when a person who committed non-violent crimes is now sentenced 25-life. This person’s first strike was when he burglarized a home with no one in it. He claimed he learned his lesson and did not leave his house for a long time. He then did the same thing again a few years later. His third strike was possession of $5 worth of methamphetamine, which is when they put him away for 25 years to life. I do believe that these crimes are worth jail time, but I do not feel they deserve life in prison

    There are people who go to jail for manslaughter and they do not receive 25 years to life. There are people who commit violent crimes that do not receive this treatment. This shows how unfair the system can be, and voicing our thoughts is the only way people can change. This video is about the second example I gave in the previous paragraph. Watch it and see how unfair the system can be.

  108. Human rights are the rights you have simply because your human, how you instinctly expect and deserve to be treated as a person. It’s the right to live freely, right to speak your mind, treated as an equal, etc. although human rights are rights we all know about they are often disregarded. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights there are five core notions, the one that relates to this issue is “Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights – Economic, social, and cultural rights refer to fostering the universal attainment of the rights to meaningful and gainful employment, rest and leisure, health care, adequate shelter, security in old age, special protections for parents, the family, and children whether born in or out of wedlock, the right to education, and participation in the cultural life of the community for everyone (UDHR, Articles 22-27)”. This article depicts the rights one has concerning their well-being.

    An example of what happens when human rights are not upheld is in Africa. Africa has the highest rate of child marriage. Women are being oppressed daily. Young girls are growing up believing that they need to please a man and in order to do so they under go “sexual cleansing”. All their teachings revolve around men being the dominant sex and women are lesser than so therefore they need to be submissive.

    These traditions not only oppress women but also they take away their Human Rights. Females are not given the option of a higher education, most drop out of high school and forced into sex. What can a young girl without an education and possibly a child do other than stay in an abusive marriage or possibly be subjected to sex trafficking.

    In Malawi specifically girls are taught at the young age of six how to have sex and please a man. These are little girls that grow up believing that they are helpless without a man.
    This is a major human rights issue. The male sex is viewed as superior and therefore women need to do whatever possible to please a man. I’m sure everyone knows about or has heard of human trafficking; it still goes on today and in the United States. Women from towns such as ones in Africa are the victims human trafficking.
    Spread the word on female violence. Sexism. Human Trafficking. It is happening everywhere, we can all help.

    To read related articles:

  109. Tina article:
    Honor Killing Statistics:
    YouTube Video:

  110. I chose to expand on was the idea of “honor killing”. Honor killing is when a person commits a murder when they feel that an individual is doing something to shame the ideas and beliefs of their culture.
    I think that this is a very clear and definitive violation of a person’s human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1947) includes such rights as A1 freedom and equality, A3- the right to live, A4- no slavery, A5- no torture, A7- no unfair detainment, A13- freedom to move, A14- right to seek a safe place to live, A6- right of marriage and family, A17- freedom of thought, A19- freedom of expression, A25- shelter, A26- education, just to name a few. These are universal and inalienable to everyone with no exception. However, these appear to be more of a guideline than an implemented standard of living.
    I have attached an article occurring in the United States that directly relates to honor killings. In this article a Palestinian Muslim family moved to America where Tina Isa attended an American school. Tina started to hang out with friends, date a boy, and obtained a part time job behind her parents back. When she returned home one day her father found out she was working and with a boy. Her mother held her down while her father stabbed her to death. After being sentenced to death the mother, Maria, claimed “My daughter was very disrespectful and very rebellious... we should not have to pay with our lives for something she did.” They stand by their actions in that they feel their daughter was dishonoring their beliefs and their expectations for her future based on their cultures ideals.
    In this instance of honor killing the idea of cultural relativism comes into play. This is when the cultural traditions have priority when a particular human right conflicts with those traditions and norms (Reichart, 2006). In the instance of Tina Isa her parents used their Palestinian Muslic beliefs and cultures, despite living in America and their daughter attending American schools, as their reasons for their actions. Obviously since this occurred in American there were repercussions and the parents were sentenced to death. However this leads me to believe if this would have been even questions if they had not been in America. If the family was still in their home country would this have been accepted because of her apparent defiance and resistance from the cultures norms?
    This led me to further research the idea of honor killing and cultural relativism when it comes to other areas of the world to see how a similar instance would be handled. According to this article titled “Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings” there were 5000 honor killings in Pakistan alone in 2000. This article also features statistics in regards to age, people responsible for the murders, how often it is occurring, how the frequency is rising, and chillingly what they feel are the reasons that these murders are warranted. When they occur in these locations they are rarely persecuted, and if they are they receive very light sentences.
    I have also attached a documentary on YouTube on the topic of honor killing in Britain with various different examples and what we as a worldwide community should be doing to stop these events from occurring.
    The most shocking thing about this issue to me is how often it is occurring in all areas of the world. It appears as though people that are conducting these “honor killings” feel it is easier to shun away a family member that they feel is shaming their culture than facing the culture they feel is being shamed. They belong whole heartedly to their beliefs and ideals and would rather murder their families than appear as though they cannot confirm or have a failure in their family. Something needs to be done to address this issue in regards to protecting the human rights of these individuals, protecting their safety, and giving them a chance to live.

  111. I volunteer at a place called Carenet, which is a crisis pregnancy center for low income women. What I noticed time and time again when these young high school girls would come in is the absolute fear they had when taking those pregnancy tests and finding out that they were pregnant. They would always sit there dumbfounded wondering how did this happen to them, wondering what they were going to do next, and saying that their lives were over.
    In my home town the local high school has programs for teen girls that are pregnant that way they can finish their high school degree while at the same time still being a mom. There was a day care at one wing of the high school that you could drop your child off and then you would come and check up on breaks and lunch. The thing that concerns me is that this was the high school in the city and every other high school in the surrounding area had no such program- so when girls at other schools would get pregnant they would end up dropping out. This contributes to the statistics that 115 million children are not enrolled in school (97% of them being from developed countries).
    At this crisis pregnancy center that I volunteer at we help the girls get all the basics that they are going to need for the new baby as well as provide them with free parenting classes, counseling class, and a support group. I cannot count how many times I had heard from the young girls that they honestly didn’t know how they became pregnant. The sex education that is being taught in the school now days is just not cutting it- these girls honestly thought that they could only get pregnant 3-5 days out of the month. The information that they knew about sex was scary and not because they knew so much but because they knew so little. Essentially they knew how to have sex and that was it.
    The Issue that is hot on my mind is that we need to develop a better way to teach these children about sex. Knowledge is power and in my opinion it is the power to help them make a better educated decision. At the same time we need to develop a better way of handling with the girls that do get pregnant (because all the knowledge in the world isn’t going to stop teen pregnancy). A program that assists these new moms in continuing school, an environment that if filled with helpfulness and not judgment would be a great starting spot.
    I attached a very short but informative youtube video!

  112. A compelling and existing social justice issue is the controversial topic of coercive and advanced interrogation techniques used against suspects in the war against terror. Although I understand that drastic times can sometimes call for drastic measures; being a true believer in human dignity and social justice for all, I do not support the US’s excuses for or use of such grave and immoral human rights abuses that clearly violate Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman treatment or punishment; and the Geneva Conventions underlying humanitarian treatment in war. Our criminal justice system says that we are innocent until proven guilty, but for detainees in places like Guantanamo Bay, our government can easily manipulate or change laws and enforce advanced interrogative techniques to make these suspects say anything we want to hear. The validity of the results of advanced interrogation techniques such as water-boarding, sleep and light deprivation, and malnourishment, to name a few have frequently been disputed. Furthermore such techniques have resulted in emotionally and psychological effects; not only for the victims of such techniques but for the interrogators as well. On another note I do not understand how the US can continue to protect other victims of torture and crimes against humanity in other parts of the world when we are not protecting our own victims at home. There needs to be more of understanding and accountability surrounding the definitions, uses and results of advanced interrogation techniques. We also need to work in more ethical and humane ways to try and achieve justice and protect the liberties and human dignity of each person, whether they are a suspect of terrorism or not. In my opinion when we as a country make our own rules and manipulate the government and laws to achieve results we so seek, and continue this hypocrisy surrounding humanitarian treatment during war time we in effect become terrorist-like ourselves. I know it is extremely hard to distinguish people from actions they make, and I do believe in justice and punishment for these actions but taking such extreme and controversial measures to combat terrorism seems counterproductive. It does matter how we play the game in the war against terrorism as a nation and government. We need to lead by example when it comes to humanitarian treatment and take indivisibility into account where human rights are concerned under article five of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane treatment or punishment.

  113. here are some web links to articles related to the topic or advanced interrogation techniques and it's effects.

    photos and video related to the topic of advanced interrogation techniques:

  114. An issue that I find compelling is Human Trafficking. It is an issue I do not hear much about but it can be lurking very close to home.
    Human trafficking is defined as “the recruitment, transport, transfer, harboring or receipt of a person by such means as threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud or deception for the purpose of exploitation (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2014). It is difficult to assess how widespread trafficking is because the crime takes place behind the wings so to speak. It is estimated that there is roughly 2.6 million victims of trafficking bringing millions of dollars for those who are in control. The purpose of trafficking is exploitation. This could be sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. This usually takes place by threats of force, deception, coercion, and abuse of power or position of vulnerability. Human trafficking affects every country in the world with the most common form being sexual exploitation. Victims can be any age and gender.

    Human trafficking violates many of the articles of the Declaration of Human Rights.

    Article 1 - all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
    Article 3 - everyone has a right to life, liberty and security of person.
    Article 4 - no one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
    Article 5 – No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.

    The YouTube link below is worth watching. I had no idea the Superbowl had such a high link to trafficking. Other related articles are posted if you wish to read.

    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2014)Human Trafficking FAQS . Retrieved from February 6, 2014.

  115. One thing that I found bothersome through my first year in working for the school system that I graduated is that their are some of the secretaries or other staff that work in the schools through out the district have a tendency to pick on minorities that are in their school systems. It is apparent to me and team that the school pick on the same families multiple times through out the school year or their stay in the school system. That means picking on the same student or siblings in multiples different ways. Those ways are with their residency (where they live in the town), siblings having different last names than their siblings in the other schools, custody issues, etc. It got to a point that my team and I have stood up to the schools and started working with them and the families to figure out what is going on that the schools are asking questions about this minority families multiple times. My goal is to assist the school system to look at minorities in the school systems as equals to one each other. I definitely want to educate minorities on their rights in the school system and educate the school on the cultures and backgrounds of the students that they have in their schools.

  116. Maternal Mortality:Human Rights Issue

    An issue that I find rather disturbing is Maternal Health Mortality. Since, I was a child I can always remember being to shows surrounding birth and pregnant mother, the joy and happiness that is bringing a new life into the world. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many mothers to be….even in the United States. According to Amnesty International “Around the world, one woman dies every 90 seconds in pregnancy or childbirth -- that's more than 350,000 women every year. The vast majority of these deaths are preventable.” In the US, low income and minority women are most vulnerable to maternal mortality (see image below). In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals , set the goal to cut maternal mortality by 75%, but unfortunately the “current declining rate is less than 1/5th the rate necessary to achieve that target”.(The International Initiative on Maternal Mortality and Human Rights (IIMMHR) )On a positive note the U.N. Human Rights Council recognized maternal mortality as a human rights concern in June 2010.

    In reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights I think Maternal Mortality currently violates:

    Article 2. Discrimination. Rights belong to no special group of people

    -Currently minorities, especially African Americans in the US are discriminated against when seeking maternal health care.

    Article 3. The Right to Life. Everyone has the right to live

    -Improper medical care/services withhold a women and child right to live because most of maternal mortalities can be prevented.

    Article 22. Social Security. All people have the right to affordable medical help when ill/old

    -Everyone especially pregnant mothers regardless of income should have access to quality essential medical care.


    Global Maternal Mortality:

    WHO: Saving mother's and children's lives

  117. Danielle Michaud

    The Russian government must be held responsible for grave human rights abuses surrounding the Sochi Winter Olympics games. The games, by their inherent nature, are a unique platform to unite people from throughout the world over amicable athletic competition. However, Russia has committed many egregious oppressive practices in preparation for the Olympics throughout the course of the past several years. Over two thousand families have been displaced without compensation to make room for construction of the sporting arenas. Russia is highly unsafe for independent journalists who report on Olympic-related evictions, with laws restricting permitted Internet content and freedom of press, in addition to the possibility of imprisonment. The country has clamped down on the right of public assembly in response to these abuses. Residents of the Sochi community have suffered the damaging effects of the environmental destruction associated with building a new road, railway, and power lines, as well as the dumping of toxic waste. Not only did some homes partially collapse, but also the drinking water was contaminated. Additionally, thousands of employees at these sites were migrant workers from outside the city and faced exploitation. They received inadequate compensation for their work, compulsory twelve hour days with only one day off a month, no contracts, poor housing accommodations, and the stripping of their passports. Furthermore, Russia’s anti-gay laws threaten the safety and treatment of the LGBT community. Even though the International Olympics Committee (IOC) has known about these abuses since 2009, members have done little to correct them. Wilfred Lemke, the UN Special Advisor on Sport, claims that holding any nation accountable for human rights infractions would negate the ability to hold the events anywhere in the world. The IOC decries discrimination, yet currently lacks a standing committee dedicated to monitoring human rights abuses.

    Visit the below links for more detailed information:

    According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the following rights have been abused:

    Article 1: born free and equal in dignity and rights.
    Article 2. right to all freedoms without distinction
    Article 3. life, liberty and security of person.
    Article 5. no torture
    Article 7. equal protection of the law.
    Article 8. effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating fundamental legal rights
    Article 9. no arbitrary arrest, detention or exile
    Article 11, (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence
    Article 12. no arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation.
    Article 13. freedom of movement and residence
    Article 17. (2) no arbitrary deprivation of property.
    Article 19. right to freedom of opinion and expression
    Article 20. freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
    Article 22. = right to social security and the economic, social and cultural rights
    Article 23. right to work, choice of work, equal/appropriate pay for equal work
    Article 24. right to rest and leisure
    Article 25. right to an adequate standard of living
    Article 28. right social and international order in which the rights and freedoms can be fully realized.
    Article 29. limitations to freedoms only if they infringe upon others
    Article 30. cannot use UDHR to destroy any of its rights/freedoms

  118. This comment has been removed by the author.

  119. Hi everyone,

    I am so sorry but for the past 2 days I have had trouble posting my blog entry. This is a link to a account I have set up with my post: