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Lee's comments about economic equality not being a real human rights issue and that the United States is nothing like oppressive regimes warranted a response.
The United States voluntarily submitted its own human rights violations to the United Nations. And I actually read the report and I have it linked below, you can actually read it too. It makes me cringe by just reading it. Because it cheapens the definition of what a human rights violation is.
Here's how the report is basically written. It states some sort of law that the United States passed like the American Disabilities Act. Or other types of uh... The... Laws that prevent economic inequality in the United States. They talk about Title IX. And then it says 'but we still have steps to make in the United States to make uh... Human rights no longer a problem.' Those are not human rights violations.
Yes those are human rights violation, and I'll explain why.
If you take a look at the article you link to it explains what is used as a basis to determine the human rights issues. I quote:
This review, conducted through the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), is based upon human rights obligations and commitments expressed in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [and] human rights instruments to which the State is party
It specifically mentions the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document signed by the United States in 1948. Which was a direct response to the atrocities in World War II. And it sole function is to give people the rights and freedoms they need to live a happy and productive life.
And article 25 very clearly 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.
This means that economic inequality can be a civil rights issue.
If someone doesn't have enough income he isn't able to care properly for his family and can restrict his access to services like healthcare. A service that's crucial for a happy and productive life, especially in poor countries.
And that's just one reason why the report states economic inequality as a human rights issue.
Yes, United States is better than other countries around the world. We are not violators of human rights violations like these other sick countries are. It's absolutely absurd, it cheapens the definition of human rights.
Lee do I really have to remind you of the incidents in the Abu Ghraib prisons? And that your country is currently holding people captive in Guantanomo Bay, without them even knowing why they are being held captive? This last one is specifically mentioned in the report you criticise as an example of a violation and what the U.S. is doing about it.
And this is mentioned as a violation in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the following articles:
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
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.
So there is definitely room for improvement here.
However, you are right to say that the U.S. is better than the oppressive regimes you mention. But, this does not mean the U.S. is perfect, without violations, blame or cannot strive to better itself for it citizens. And striving to become a country that is a symbol of human rights and equality is what this document is all about. To quote the report: “A more perfect union, a more perfect world.”
And that's how the world works.
- Lee's video
- Human Rights Report:
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Lubbock Heart Hospital, Dec 16-17, 2005 by brykmantra
- "Thank you, anonymous donor" photo by Makelessnoise
- "Soun Nary" by Cambodia Trust
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights plaque photo by Jim Stipe/CRS