jueves, 29 de noviembre de 2012

Human Right #3: Everyone has the right to life and to live in freedom and safety.

Human rights have become the ethical, social and political reference of our time. Their proclamation has meant new attitudes and a new mentality towards social, political and cultural issues. They are major principles and ethical values which ethically guide our behaviour from a social point of view. As we know, in a human being we cannot separate the social and individual aspects, so we could say that they are like an ethical lighthouse for our behaviour. They are not just ethical references for political constitutions and legislations in different countries; they also help and promote people's social and political activities. Human rights are therefore the backbone of active citizenship.
Nevertheless, the use of human rights is often questioned due to their "lack of credibility". It seems that writing human rights into laws and constitutions is enough, but it isn't. It is not enough that human rights are approved in laws; they have to be a part of the social and political life of our countries, because if that does not happen they lose credibility and trust. What does it matter if they are written but not applied? What is the point if they are protected only by words and not actions? Apart from a crisis of credibility, there is also another problem: that they are just used for protesting and as a way to solve conflicts. But we forget that they are also used as a way of building a responsible and active citizenship, they can help create shared projects in which rights are not just used for protest, but also as a means of imagining a shared life together.
Human rights are an ideal that can encourage the realisation of social life. They are often great principles, norms or values that are rendered useless, but we also have to look at the positive side: they teach us what we can achieve by changing laws and  rules. They let us withdraw from our conventionality and pull away from the idea that laws are fine as they are. Human rights are a motor of change, not only so that we can protect them in words, but also as a means of inventing laws that will make them real.
When human rights form part of a constitution - the legal project of countries and regions -, they are the legal form that guarantees the bond of citizenship. By recognising ourselves in human rights, we recognise ourselves as sharing a common dignity upon which we have the right to insist. In addition, and this is important, this  dignity can belong to everyone, not just a few. Thanks to human rights we can aspire to an international and global citizenship But, as mentioned previously, they must be human rights that help, guide and plan, thus becoming the duty and reponsibility of all states and every one of us. The human rights, human duties and human responsibilities of every one of us can become the heart of a common mission.

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