Human rights

The materials in this unit are based on the Human Rights Framework and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a post-World War Two declaration adopted by the United Nations in 1948 in an effort to delineate the rights to which all humans are entitled.  See an abbreviated version here.

In addition, the following  Five Principles of Human Rights underscore the implementation of the human rights framework and guide the activities in this section.

  1. Universality:  All people are born with the same rights, by virtue of being human alone, regardless of race, religion, culture, or gender
  2. Equity:  Every person is equally entitled to enjoy human rights
  3. Participation:  All people are entitled to make decisions regarding human rights and governments must actively ensure these rights for all
  4. Transparency:  All people have the right to know how institutions that protect human rights are run;
  5. Accountability:  Mechanisms must be in place to enforce human rights and to hold governments and decision-makers accountable for their actions.

This section also begins a discussion about four Theories of Impoverishment framed, among others, by William Goldsmith and Edward Blakely. The four theories as we articulate them are:

  1. Poverty as Accident:  Something just happened randomly to make someone poor. It happens.
  2. Poverty as Personal Failing:  A person is poor because of something he or she did.
  3. Poverty as Fate:  Poverty exists. It is part of the way things are. God decided some people should be poor. We can’t do anything about it.
  4. Poverty as Structural:  Poverty is a cause of the economic structure our society has set up. We can change this structure and end poverty.