What are rights?
Rights refer to legal claims that enable a particular group or individuals to have access to a particular entitlement. They are protected under the law of justice, although they are not always willingly granted since sometimes a group or an individual has to fight for their rights to be recognized, that’s why they are referred to as a claim. Furthermore, the people who claim rights are usually the minority groups, those with no access to political or economic power.
Thus, rights are characterized by claims that although legal can sometimes be denied by the government or authority in power, the persons who claim for their rights usually do not have any power. More so, a claim to rights is not a guarantee that the individuals will be granted since it is not an absolute course due to the often colliding and competing interests within the haves and non-haves.
Furthermore, rights are not a key to freedom the way most individuals think since the moment they are granted and made law; they act as boundaries as to where they extend our freedom reaches. Thus, in a way, rights act as instruments of social, economic, and political control in society.
How does the current economic and political structure affect human rights?
Human rights are all about the equality and equity of all members of the state, no matter the person’s gender, skin color, or economic power. Thus, the current economic and political structure greatly affects the achievement of human rights.
The political structure is made in such a way that it does not promote the full enjoyment of human rights through it laws such as discrimination of persons in terms of their gender and color, enactment of strict laws against terrorism that limit the extent to which person is able to enjoy their social freedoms and rights to privacy, tough laws against refugees and immigrants that allows for deportation with or without torture of the deportees. Furthermore, the same political structure does not treat women equally to men since it also lacks to will to enforce some of the human rights into law.
The economic structure affects human rights since it does not provide for the proper enactment of an economically enforceable law as well as provides for equal welfare rights to both the poor and the rich and thus promoting poverty due to limited access to welfare. More so, it also affects the right to a proper education due to the increase in fees, which has limited the ability of children from poor backgrounds to access education, thus discriminating against them.
What are the defining features of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was formally passed into law in the year 1982 and thus was entrenched as part of the constitution. Its main features are that it protects the civil and political rights of the people in relation to the equality of persons (Module 1). However, the act is only applicable to acts that are formed by the country’s government and can only be ruled upon for or against by the courts or a specially formed tribunal.
What are the defining features of the Ontario Human Rights Code?
The Ontario Human Rights Code was made law in 1962. The code covers and protects an individual against harassment or discrimination at their place of work, their place of residence as well as in the provision of services in public or private sectors. The code specifies certain grounds to be specific to harassment or discrimination. These grounds are in terms of sex, race, or disabilities. Furthermore, this code only applies to the state of Ontario and similar municipal governments as well as organizations practicing in the private sector. The process of filing complaints involves reporting the case less than six months after, and thus a tribunal is set to determine the legality as well as give the verdict in the case.
What is the definition of discrimination?
Discrimination refers to the act of being disregarded, ignored, or looked down upon because of one’s skin color, gender, educational background, or economic power. The main type of discrimination is racial discrimination, where people despise others due to the color of their skin. This type of discrimination is rampant and has led to an uprising in the past. It is still very rampant in Canada since African Canadians are still being discriminated against in schools (Module 1). Discrimination leads to segregation and low self-esteem, and in some instances, it can lead to conflicts.
What is the definition of harassment?
Harassment refers to offensive behavior that is usually meant to upset the other party. A major characteristic of harassment is that it is repetitive in nature. It is illegal to harass someone, and thus it attracts punishment in law. The main type of harassment is sexual and workplace bullying. Sexual harassment is suffered by both men and women since it refers to persistent sexual advances to an unwilling person, and sometimes it involves touching them against their own will.
What does need to change to close the gap between the reality of ongoing oppression and discrimination and the promises held out by our human rights laws?
There are so many things that need to change so as to be able to close the gap between the ongoing depression and discrimination so as to fulfill the promises held out by the human rights laws. Some of the things to change are highlighted below:
Goodwill from the Leaders
There should be a presence of goodwill from the country’s leaders. This will make it possible to implement and enact laws that protect people from discrimination and oppression. Furthermore, the presence of goodwill will make it impossible for leaders to enact laws that are in direct collision with the human rights laws, such as the refugee and immigration act that allows for torture and deportation.
Changing the Laws
The legislature should amend the human rights laws such that they are held supreme by the constitution, and thus they cannot be superseded by any other acts that may be created. Furthermore, during the process of amendment, the law should provide for a provision on how the human rights laws can be enacted and protected so that each and every individual should be aware that their human rights are protected by the law, and thus any oppression or discrimination should be severely punished.
This involves the process of forgiveness and reconciliation so as to have a unified country and people. It ensures that the people forgive each other and forget the past injustices that they may have been subjected too and thus promise to live in harmony(Module 2). It is particularly important in doing away with racial discrimination and oppression since it educates the public and makes them understand that all people are equal.
Stiffer Penalties for Human Rights Violation
It involves coming up with strict and stiff penalties for any person found to have violated the human rights of another. The use of this method will deter other people who may be tempted to discriminate or oppress others.