The rights that most people think of when they think of international human rights are usually not very controversial. It doesn't take a lot of argument to get most people to agree that brutal repression by governments and other authorities is a bad thing.
But what amazes me is how shallow that support for human rights often is. People usually agree that governments shouldn't use torture, but then 70% of the people in the United States support the death penalty, the ultimate form of torture. People will normally agree with the notion that people shouldn't be imprisoned or otherwise punished for the nonviolent advocacy of political or other opinions, but there are constantly new threats to free speech rights (including a majority in the U.S. Congress that wants to amend the Constitution so that the nonviolent, expressive act of flag burning can be criminalized). And people generally agree that people shouldn't be denied rights because of their race, ethnicity or religion; but then several jurisdictions in the U.S. have voted to eliminate affirmative action and other government programs designed to partially remedy the racial and gender discrimination and inequality that continues to be pervasive in our society.
So in addition to fighting against blatant violations of fundamental human rights in places like China, Israel and Turkey, there is still a lot of work to be done in the supposedly more "enlightened" countries like the United States.
Human Rights Links
Here are a few links to some great organizations:
Human Rights Treaties and Other Documents
These documents are available at many other places on the web, but since some governments try to block access to sites containing human rights information, I thought I would make their task just a little bit harder by having them show up in yet another place.
24 July 2005