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Human Rights, Globalization and Economic Development

The implications of globalization on economic and social rights

Globalization has had a massive impact on the economic and social rights of people across the world. Based on Bryzk’s definition of globalization, it is clear that a globalized world makes it easy to have a free flow of information and ideas across the border. For a long time, many societies were living in closed-structured societies where it was impossible to understand what was going on in other parts of the world. It was difficult to share knowledge and information among people of different countries. For this reason, some governments found it easy to oppress their subjects with policies that were economically punitive. People would pay tax, but they were not supposed to ask what their governments did with their money.

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This has greatly changed with a globalized society. Currently, people are informed because of the ease with which information flows around the world. They know that they have the right to put the government to task, to explain how their tax is spent. The benefits of economic rights in the currently globalized society can also be witnessed in the investment trends that have been seen in the recent past. An American can easily invest in Canada without any fear of victimization by the authorities in Canada. Similarly, a Canadian can own property in Australia as long as the due process of the law has been followed. This economic empowerment did not exist before when the societies lived in isolation.

One area that has seen massive changes due to globalization is social rights. Many societies across the world were characterized by abuse of fundamental human rights. The United States, a country that has been admired by many across the world, was the epicenter of racism not long ago. The blacks were considered inferior to other races. They were not supposed to use facilities classified as ‘Whites only’ because they were seen as slaves in society. However, there has been a massive shift from this view due to globalization. This country has been championing the social rights of citizens of various countries. Given that there is a free flow of information and ideas across the world, American society realized that they could only be true champions of social rights if they did the same at home. This has helped foster American society where the social rights of everyone- irrespective of race, gender, or social status- are respected by all. The oppressive regimes that disregarded the social rights of their citizens, such as that of Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia have been brought down. With a free flow of information and ideas, people know their rights, and they know how to fight for them in case they suspect that they are being oppressed.

The overall economical performance of a country and the demand for human rights applications

The overall economic performance of a country has a close relationship with human rights applications. Economic performance is what every government is keen on achieving in every country in the world. An increase in the GPD and the purchasing power is very attractive, and every government has every right to pursue it. However, there is always a challenge when it comes to balancing human rights and overall economic performance. In most cases, the two may be contradictory in nature. There are some economic policies that may be developed by the government that is counter-productive to the full application of some human rights. For instance, the government may decide to convert a children’s playing field into a factory. Such a move would have a positive economic impact not only on the national government but also on the local population. However, the fundamental rights of children in that region will be jeopardized. Although I am a strong supporter of the economic development of my country, I do not think that the overall economic performance of a country trumps the demand for human rights applications. The government should uphold human rights at all times. In cases where the economic developments run contrary to human rights, it should be the responsibility of the government to find a middle ground where the rights of everyone will not be violated in any way.

According to recent studies, it is clear that human rights and economic performance are viewed from different angles in developed and developing countries. In developing countries, most of the fundamental human rights are considered secondary to economic concerns. Most people in developing countries do not know their rights either because of illiteracy, or a wrong syllabus that does not focus on fundamental human rights. For this reason, governments and corporate organizations in these countries find it easy to violate some of these rights because there will be no complaints. For this reason, it is common to find over 60 percent of the population in some cities like Cape Town or Nairobi living in nonformal settlements without the government’s amenities. Some reports have indicated that the living conditions in most of these developing economies are so poor that some of the human rights become irrelevant. For instance, the right to play would be unreasonable for a child in Soweto slums in South Africa who has not had any meal for the last two days. Such a poor family can ‘sell’ all their rights just to get a meal on the table.

This is a sharp contrast when analyzing developed nations such as Canada or the United States. In such countries, people know their fundamental rights and the role that should be played by every stakeholder to uphold these rights. For this reason, these rights have to be upheld during the economic developments, even in cases where the two forces may be contradictory. This is the way it should be in all the countries, both developed and developing. Human rights should not be considered secondary to any other development project.

The contributions of international organizations to human rights

International organizations and non-governmental organizations have played significant roles in promoting human rights. The United Nations is one of the leading international organizations that have played a pivotal role in the protection of human rights across the globe. Historically, the United Nations was established in October 1945 in order to prevent another outbreak of the world war, following the failure of the League of Nations to prevent the Second World War. One of the main concerns of the architects of the United Nations was on how to prevent the massive violation of human rights that was witnessed in the two world wars. People were murdered, many others injured, and properties worth billions of dollars were destroyed. The aim of this organization was to prevent a possible occurrence of the mass violation of human rights through such wars. This was its main mandate when it was established. However, the organization also assumed other mandates as it developed. The organization developed some urgency that was meant to help achieve a quality lifestyle for everyone across the world. Food and Agriculture Organization was established in 1945 to help ensure that there is food security in various parts of the world.

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The International Labor Organization was established in 1946 to help protect the rights of all the workers across the world. The World Health Organization, established in 1948, has been playing a leading role in fighting some of the deadly diseases in various countries globally. UNICEF has also been playing a pivotal role to fight diseases and other challenges that children face in their developmental stages. These United Nations agencies have become very keen on ensuring that the rights of international citizens are respected. Although the sovereignty of states has been an issue in addressing some of the human rights abuses in some countries, the current court proceedings taking place at the Hague involving the Kenyan president and his deputy about the violation of human rights is a clear indication that this body is serious in protecting the human rights.

There are other non-governmental organizations that have been very active in fighting for human rights in various parts of the world. Amnesty International has been one of the leading champions of human rights in various countries. The organization has been working with other like-minded organizations such as the Human Rights Watch to ensure that everyone enjoys all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Although the organization has met serious challenges, especially in countries such as China and North Korea, it has been able to make some progress in promoting human rights across the world.

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