Human Rights

After reading this article titled, UN poverty official touring Alabama’s Black Belt: ‘I haven’t seen this’ in the First World, I was brought to the focus on human rights. The United Nations describes human rights as, “rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.” The article on hookworm and sewage discusses the problem of contaminated water caused by sewage disposal. “‘I think it’s very uncommon in the First World. This is not a sight that one normally sees. I’d have to say that I haven’t seen this,’ Philip Alston, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.” The article then later on discussed that it is a basic human right for people to live decently. “‘There is a human right for people to live decently, and that means the government has an obligation to provide people with the essentials of life, which include power, water and sewage service,’ Alston said.”

The comments made by Alston connected me to the book, Zulus by Percival Everett. In Zulus, Alice Achitophel was stripped of her basic human rights. When the government was informed that she was carrying a baby, they wanted to take the baby away from Alice. This is a violation of multiple human rights. In specific, Alice was discriminated against due to her weight. She was overweight which was looked upon as taboo and she was treated as if she was of a lower social class. Alice was also held hostage due to her pregnancy, which is another violation of basic human rights. In Zulus, all the citizens in the communities were automatically violated when the government forced them to be sterile. Basic human rights are not something to be messing around with and can result in serious consequences when breached.

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